All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)

A Species Narrative by Ken Crick


Welcome to my new style narrative, the content of which has been kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick. The narrative is intended to give an insight into the life cycle and characteristics of the featured species.  

Size: - Approximate Length 42m - Wing Span 60mm
Male: - The male (see above) has grey blue eyes. The thorax upper surface is dark brown with clearly defined straw coloured antehumeral stripes. The long slender abdomen is pale blue throughout with the exception of segment 1 that is black. A fine line runs down the centre of the upper surface either side of which is a single black dot.
Female: - The female (see below) has a golden straw coloured abdomen. The upper surface of the brown thorax is highlighted by two almost white antehumeral stripes. A similar stripe exists between the wings that are faintly tinted saffron. The eyes are grey green. The upper surface of the abdomen sports a fine black centre line with a cross bar or pair of dots on each segment.


Status: - Found mainly along the West Coast of Scotland, Wales and England where its habitat requirements restrict it to moorland sites. Also present on the lowland heaths of the New Forest and Hampshire up to the boarder with Berkshire. Suitable
sites are scattered around the coastal regions of Eire.

Habitat: - Breeds in areas of heath and moorland bogs, runnels and streams.

Flight period: - Mid June to mid August.

General: - Males can be seen at rest sunning them-selves on the surface of the bog, they fly very low and often in an unpredictable pattern. Females are often encountered sunning themselves on bare ground or banks of heather. Copulation may take place low down near the bogs surface or high in a tree.

It is a relatively drawn out process taking in excess of 20 minutes. Females often seem to rest after copulation and before commencing egg-laying.

Females lay by dipping the abdomen in the water whilst in flight, closely guarded by the male. Another species where a stout plastic bag becomes an essential part of a photographer’s kit.

The narrative was kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick

All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

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