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Halloween pennant

Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) [female] [male]
Photos © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The Halloween pennant is a medium-sized dragonfly and the largest of the Celithemis genus. It has an orange to yellow face, a dorsal stripe on the abdomen, and golden to orange wings with dark spots and orange veins. They are sexually dimorphic (different characteristics between sexes). Females have a brown abdomen at the base of the thorax, yellow sides, and a yellow dorsal stripe. Males have a mostly black abdomen that is orange at the base of the thorax. They are easily mistaken for the calico pennant (Celithemis elisa), which has clear wings with smaller wing spots. Larvae are greenish to pale brown, have a longer, slender build, and large eyes.

Dragonflies are common inhabitants of lakes and wetlands, and nymphs live underwater among submerged vegetation. The Halloween pennant almost exclusively mates in the morning hours. They mate like most dragonflies, the male grabbing onto the female and bending his abdomen towards hers. After copulation, females hold onto abdomen of males as they deposit the eggs underwater. Their strong wings allow them to withstand windy and rainy summer days. They can be seen near lakes and wetlands during summer months (especially July) statewide. 

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Libellulidae

Illinois Status: common, native