I love these dragonflies, because they are so easy to identify — they are the only dragonfly in Florida with those multiple big, brown spots all over their wings. Also, who doesn’t love Halloween?!?
Celithemis eponina lives all over the eastern United States, mostly near bodies of water. They mostly appear in the summer in cooler areas, but in Florida they can be seen year round. Adults are 38-42 mm long, with a yellow or reddish dorsal stripe, clear yellow wings, and the characteristic brown bands and splotches on the wings. Females and juvenile males have yellow markings on the face, wing veins, and dorsum, but as males mature their yellow markings slowly turn reddish.
Like most dragonflies, the Halloween pennant dragonfly is predatory, feeding on smaller insects which they capture in flight. It is a strong flier, able to fly even during rain and strong winds.
Eggs are laid in the water. Unlike some dragonfly species, C. eponina does not defend a territory or the area where the eggs were laid. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which look almost nothing like the adult insect, and are entirely aquatic. Dragonfly nymphs are voracious predators. They develop underwater; when they are nearing adulthood, they crawl out of the water onto vegetation, molting one last time to emerge as adults. They then take flight to locate a mate and restart the cycle.