Erythemis (simplicicollis) collocata
Western Pondhawk is well named. It is a medium-sized species that typically hunts, or defends territories, around the edges of ponds and lakes. Given its size, it sometimes hunts smaller odes.
Photo (above) 5 Aug 2006 Arroyo Seco Lakes
Photo (below) 12 May 2007 N fork San Antonio River
Western Pondhawk is quite similar in appearance to Blue Dasher, and the two often are found together, but the pondhawk is a bit larger. All ages and sexes of the pondhawk have a green face (right). Male pondhawks have dark blue eyes. Blue Dasher has a white face and green eyes. Another difference is that Western Pondhawk often perches on the ground (as above) or on floating vegetation; the Blue Dasher perches higher.

A female Western Pondhawk is mostly pale green in color. Immature males start out like females (left). Manolis (2003) describes the changing color like this: "The males take a few weeks to change color; first the abdomen becoms blue, then the front of the thorax, and lastly, the sides of the thorax."

Females ovipost in the pond by rapidly dipping the tip of her abdomen into the water, often with a 'guarding' male hovering above.

Photo (left) 15 Apr 2007 Gibson Ranch Co. Park, Sacramento Co.

Pondhawks are a diverse genus of 11 species widely distributed in the Western Hemisphere (Manolis 2003). This is the only species to reach California. Many authorities consider it conspecific with Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis. Thus that species name is placed in parentheses above. Visually, the terminal appendages are white on Eastern Pondhawk and black on Western Pondhawk, but apparently there is overlap and/or introgression.

The map shows the locales at which Western Pondhawk has been recorded so far. All are ponds with reedy edges or slow moving backwater marshes. It likely occurs in similar habitat throughout the MTY lowlands.

In MTY the records range from 29 April–1 September. Elsewhere in California, flight dates range from March to October (Manolis 2003).


Literature cited:
  • Manolis, T. 2003. Dragonflies and Damselflies of California. Univ. of Calif. Press, Berkeley.
Web resources:
Major identification web sites with much information on California odes include: For sites with excellent photos to compare for identification or to simply enjoy, see: Many of these sites have links to other useful pages. Kathy Biggs's site is particularly useful in her selection of links.

All photos © Don Roberson 2007


Page created 20 Mar 2007, revised 16 May 2007