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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Male four-spotted chasers are active insects and spend long periods of time hawking over the water and surrounding vegetation, both hunting for other insects and marking out their territories. They appear from late May until August, and must mate and reproduce during this short season. Mating takes place on the wing and the females then hover over the water surface, dropping her eggs which sink down to adhere to submerged vegetation. As with other Odonata species, the larvae of the four-spotted chaser live for about two years amongst the vegetation and muddy debris at the bottom of their pond. They are voracious predators of other water creatures. When they have grown to a large enough size they climb up the stems of emergent vegetation before completing their transformation into adults.
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The four spotted chaser is a large dragonfly, not generally found in the coastal region. However, there are years during the migration period in May-June that hundreds of thousands of four spotted chasers appear in the coastal area and above the North Sea. Some people have reported seeing millions of these dragonflies. Almost all of them end up dying.
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Description

This dragonfly gets its name form the four dark spots present at the midpoint of the front of each of its four wings. Unusually for this family, males and females are much alike in appearance; the basic colouration is dark honey-brown, with a paler scalloped edge to both sides of the abdomen. The tip of the abdomen is black. Some members of the family Libellula tend to have fatter abdomens than other Odonata species. Several other male species in the family have noticeably blue upper sides to the abdomen, especially the broad-bodied chaser Libellula depressa.
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Range Description

Libellula quadrimaculata has a wide range and occurs from Europe and Morocco to Kamchatka and Japan, and to Canada and the USA. The species is widespread and common across most of its range, but becomes scarcer towards the south.
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Range

Four-spotted chasers are found throughout the British Isles, including the Scottish Islands and Ireland. Their range covers much of Europe and Northern Asia and extends into North America.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is widespread and generally abundant in any kind of standing and most slow-flowing waters often with well developed vegetation, although its habitat preferences vary over its range.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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This species can usually be found around most water bodies, including pools, rivers and upland lakes and lochs.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Libellula quadrimaculata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 9
Specimens with Barcodes: 31
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Libellula quadrimaculata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ATTTTGATTTTT---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TGGACA------------------TCCTGAAGTATACAT---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTTAATTTTACCAGGATTTGG------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ATAATTTCACATATTATTGCACAAGAAAGAGGTAAAAAG---GAAACATTTGGTGTTCTAGGAATAATTTATGCTATAGTAGCAATTGGGATTTTAGGATTTGTTGTATGAGCTCATCATATATTCACTGTAGGAATAGATGTAGACACTCGAGCATATTTTACATCAGCAACTATAGTAATTGCGGTCCCTACCGGAATTAAAATTTTCAGTTGACTT---GCAACTCTTCATGGAACA---CAATTTTCATACAGCCCTTCCTTATTATGAGCTTTAGGATTTGTATTTTTATTTACGATTGGAGGTTTAACAGGAGTAGTACTAGCAAATTCTTCAATTGATATTACATTACATGATACCTATTAC
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Dow, R.A.

Reviewer/s
Clausnitzer, V. & Brooks, E.

Contributor/s

Justification
Libellula quadrimaculata is very widespread and common over much of its range, with no threats across its range and is assessed as Least Concern.
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Status

Common in the UK
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Population

Population
This species is very common over much of its range, and occurs in large populations.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no threats known to this species across its range.
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This species appears to be common and widespread throughout the UK and, provided that clean water and marginal vegetation are available, there appear to be no special threats to its survival.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No conservation measures are needed.
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Conservation

There are currently no conservation projects for this species in the UK.
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Wikipedia

Four-spotted Chaser

The Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), known in North America as the Four-spotted Skimmer, is a dragonfly of the family Libellulidae found frequently throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.

Top-view, female

The adult stage is found between April to early September in the United Kingdom, and from mid-May to mid-August in Ireland. Larvae have a two year developmental cycle. Adults feed predominantly on mosquitoes, gnats and midges;[1] the larvae feed primarily on other aquatic insect larvae and on tadpoles.

There is a variant form, praenubila Newman, which has exaggerated wing spots. This is believed to be related to water temperatures during larval development, and appears to be more common in Europe than in the Americas.

The Four-spotted Skimmer is the state insect of Alaska.[2]

Habitat[edit]

Hunting and returning to a favoured perch at a pond

This active Dragonfly mainly lives by ponds, vernal pools, and slow flowing rivers; they are most common in June and July.

Identification[edit]

The brown colour and the four spots on the wings make them unmistakable.

Behaviour[edit]

Dragonfly macro.jpg
In flight

The male is considered to be highly aggressive and will defend a given territory from incursions from other males of the species. The male is known to form preferences for prominent perches and will often return to the same perches around the margins of pools and ponds whilst it patrols for intruders. Both sexes are prolific fliers and mating takes place in the air, rather than on perches or amongst the vegetation. The female lays her eggs on floating vegetation. They tend to be easier to approach than Broad-bodied Chasers.

Predators[edit]

The larger Emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) is one predator of this species.[3] Another is the Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris).[4]

References[edit]

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