Orange-bellied Skimmer
Orthemis discolor

The Orange-bellied Skimmer (Orthemis discolor) (its common name was changed to Carmine Skimmer in 2004) is an uncommon to rare and very local dragonfly which occurs in the U.S. only in south and central Texas. It is apparently more widespread in Central America. It is visually very similar to its close relative the Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea). The main visual differences in the field are the almost cherry-red eyes and face of discolor compared to the maroon or purple eyes and face of ferruginea. The thorax of discolor also appeared brighter in the field than that of ferruginea. The common name "Orange-bellied" is derived from the pale area on the ventral side of the thorax which is not typically visible in the field. The first 3 shots on this page, all males, were taken in October, 2003, on the King Ranch in Kleberg Co., Texas along a stream in mostly shaded areas. A number of these dragons were netted by Tom Langschied, John Abbott, and me for in-hand identification confirmation. The shots of the male on this page were digital captures with a Canon 10D and EF 70-200 F/2.8 L IS lens and 2X extender and 550 EX flash.

To the right is a shot of a female shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 300mm F/4 L IS lens and 580 flash in San Antonio, Bexar Co., Texas, in August, 2005. Females are superficially similar to Roseate Skimmer (O. ferruginea) but are more solidly colored brown on the sides of the thorax.
The next 8 shots were all taken just south of Austin in Travis Co., Texas during August, 2007, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 300mm F/4 l IS lens and 2X extender and 580 flash. There are shots of females, as well as several ages of males. Prior to the late summer of 2007, this species had been undocumented in Austin.