SPOT-WINGED GLIDER (Pantala hymenaea)

Pantala hymenaea 01 thumbnailPantala hymenaea thumbnailPantala hymenaea 03 thumbnailPantala hymenaea 04 thumbnail

  • flier (broad hindwings)
  • medium size (length 2 inches, wingspread 3 inches)
  • brownish all over
  • eyes red, face bright red in mature males
  • diagonal whitish side stripe on thorax in females, immatures
  • dark markings down center of abdomen less distinct
  • small dark spot at base of hindwings

Individuals move north from tropics during summer (farther north in East than West, usually earlier than Wandering), breeding along the way. Migratory flights south in fall, presumably their offspring but poorly known.


  • Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) – same size, shape and behavior, but paler, more yellow to orange and without dark spots at hindwing bases.
  • various saddlebags (Tramea spp.) – similar size and shape but hindwing markings extend entire width of wing, may be quite narrow or much larger than spot on Spot-winged


The next four tropical species are fliers with dark markings at wing bases. All are smaller than Pantala gliders, and the dark markings in all are located more at the front of the wing base. Abdomens are spindle-shaped in males, wider in middle than at either end (more parallel-sided in females, as in Pantala gliders).

  • Garnet Glider (Tauriphila australis) – dark hindwing markings small, slightly larger in female; abdomen red in male, duller in female, with dark central stripe near tip
  • Arch-tipped Glider (Tauriphila argo) – much like Garnet Glider but red (male) or orange (female) abdomen unmarked with black stripe at tip; basal wing spots a bit larger (not as large as saddlebags)
  • Aztec Glider (Tauriphila azteca) – differs from other Tauriphila gliders as well as Spot-winged and others by yellow abdomen with irregular dark brown bands across it
  • Hyacinth Glider (Miathyria marcella) – even smaller than Tauriphila gliders, hindwing markings extend across entire width of wing;
  • Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata) – a percher, typically on the tips of upright stems, but often seen in flight; small hindwing spot somewhat like that of Spot-winged Glider, but forewings also with hint of basal spot; male all black, female with heavily patterned thorax and light brown, black-tipped abdomen
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