Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Division of Entomology

Common Baskettail

Epitheca (Tetragoneuria) cynosura

Say, 1839

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The Common Baskettail (subgenus Tetragoneuria) is a medium-sized, dull brown dragonfly with a series of yellow-orange lateral spots on its stout abdomen. Many individuals have a large brown triangular spot at the base of each hindwing; however, the wings may be clear. The eyes range from blue or green in adults to red-brown in juveniles. It is very similar to our other Tetragoneuria baskettails (Dot-winged and Spiny).

This is a common, early-season eastern species extending west to westernSouth Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. It is found all across the state andis probably to be expected in all counties. A pond and lake species,it usually flies short patrol routes around edges of ponds at a heightof 2-8 feet. When perched, it hangs vertically from a branch. In thesouthwestern counties, it overlaps extensively with Dot-winged Baskettail, and numerous intermediates have been found in Scotts Bluff Co.

Common Baskettail
Common Baskettail
Common Baskettail map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.


Size: 36-44 mm (1.4-1.7 in)

Habitat: sand-bottomed lakes, ponds and slow streams

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, MO, IA, MN

Flight season: May to July



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