Minnesota Dragonfly

Carolina Saddlebags

Tramea carolina

The Carolina Saddlebags is one of two red Saddlebags with broad wing patch that are found in North America. Their range is primarily in the Southeastern United States but some seem to be migratory and individuals are often found north of their range.


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 1.9 to 2.1 inches
  • Eyes bright red on top dark below
  • Red face with metallic purple on top of frons
  • Thorax from brown to orange. Black legs
  • Large "Saddlebag" wing patch on hind wings with small clear window near the base
  • Red wing veins
  • Hamules project slightly from body
  • Bright red abdomen with black spots that cover the top and most of the sides of segments 8 and 9
  • Small dark top spot on segment 10
  • Long terminal appendages that are red at the base and dark on the ends

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


The Carolina Saddlebags is a strong flier. Males typically patrol their territory all day long into dusk. They fly along the shoreline or out over the water, sometimes perching on open twigs high over the water


Clear stagnant wetlands typically with submergent vegetation including lakes, ponds, swamps, marshes, slow moving streams and temporary pools


Mating takes place while perched in bushes or tree tops. Ovipositing is done the same as other saddlebags. With the tandem pair hovering low over the water the male releases the female who flies down to dip her ovipositor into the water. As soon as she makes a dip the male swoops down and grabs her and the pair fly off in tandem. Some females may oviposit alone flying low above the water surface dipping eggs into the water frequently

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.

This species is rare in Minnesota with only one record on Odonata Central. The flight season above corresponds to sightings made in Wisconsin