Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Swift River Cruiser

Macromia illinoiensis

Walsh, 1862

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Only one Cruiser has been found in Nebraska: a single larva found in Gage Co in August of 1985. This larva was identified as a Cruiser, but not identified to species. The most likely Cruiser to occur in Nebraska is the Swift River Cruiser, which should be watched for flying up and down large streams and rivers and along lake shores.

There are two subspecies of Swift River Cruiser: the Illinois River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis illinoiensis), which is found in the northern part of the range, and the Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis georgina), which inhabits the southern part of the range. Both are found in Iowa. Nebraska is at the extreme western edge of the range.

This species has large green eyes and long legs. The head is dark with yellow spots on the top. The male's thorax is dark with a single yellow stripe on each side. The abdomen is shiny black, with yellow triangles along the top. The northern Illinois River Cruiser subspecies is more boldly marked than the southern Georgia River Cruiser subspecies. The female is similar to the male, although brown where the male is black.

Swift River Cruiser
Swift River Cruiser male, photo courtesy of Ann Johnson

Size: 65-76 mm (2.6-3.0 in)

Habitat: large streams and rivers; lakeshores

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

Flight season: July to mid September

Swift River Cruiser map

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

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