Red Skimmer (Crocothemis chinensis)

Common Name: Red Skimmer

Order Name: Odonata

Family Name: Libellulidae

This vibrant Red Skimmer Dragonfly from Kauai was found patrolling the banks of a pond and habitually landed on it’s favorite vantage point. Unlike other groups of insects, the beautiful colors fade quickly after death. Dragonflies sit with their wings out and perpendicular to their body whereas their damselfly relatives hold their wings up together above their body. Living up to their names, to their insect prey they are true dragons of the air, using their first 2 pair of legs as a basket with which they scoop up their insect prey in mid flight.

Most insects have a pair of compound eyes and a varying number of small simple eyes called ocelli.

eyes closeup  red skimmer

Compound eyes are comprised of individual facets called ommatidia each containing a lens capable of resolving a unique signal to the optic nerve. Size of the individual ommatidia vary with the location on the compound eye which is believed to offer varying sensitivity and resolution. Because dragonflies rely on their keen vision to catch prey in mid flight, their huge compound eyes are comprised of up to 30,000 individual ommatidia which translates into highly resolved vision with a wide field of view.