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Calico Pennant

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Celithemis elisa

Hagen, 1861

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Libellulidae
Genus Celithemis
Species elisa (Hagen, 1861) [Diplax]


This is one of the more common and widespread small pennants in our area. It is easily distinguished by the wing markings, which include a brown spot basally, beyond the nodus and at the tips. The basal spot in the hindwing is large, occupying 1/4 or more of the wing and it is usually bicolored, encompassing a central amber area. The face is yellow, but becomes bright red in older males. The thorax is yellowish-brown, with a typical dark middorsal stripe and diffuse brown stripes laterally on each suture. The wings are as above with a yellow pterostigma that becomes red with age. The abdomen is dark brown or black with basal pale markings laterally on segments 1-4 and dorsally on segments 3-7.


Total length: 24-34 mm; abdomen: 16-22 mm; hindwing: 25-30 mm.

Similar Species

Halloween Pennant (C. eponina ) is larger with orange wings. Banded Pennant (C. fasicata ) has black bands in the wings with the basal band extending to the nodus.


Lakes, Ponds and borrow pits with emergent vegetation and calm, clear waters.


This species perches on top of tall grasses and weeds in open fields and surrounding water. Males are not territorial and perch facing away from the water to apparently intercept females as they approach the water. Mating lasts an average of five minutes, with egg laying requiring 3-5 minutes and occurring accompanied by the male or alone .


Widespread throughout eastern U.S. and Canada.