Adults of these dragonflies are powerful fliers and migrate considerable distances, and are world-wide in distribution. Four species have been recorded in Michigan, and Tramea onusta and T. calverti have been only recent additions. Like other migratory dragonfly species, larvae can develop in short periods of time and can thrive in temporory bodies of water.
T. lacerata is found in open marshy lagoons and bays, probably does not overwinter in the larval stage in the morthernmost localities where adults have been recorded. Nymphs taken in s. Utah from a spring pond containing watercress and other aquatic plants with trees and bushes surrounding the pond; but elsewhere nymphs may occupy ponds without surrounding trees (Musser 1962). T. carolina is found in clear waters of ponds and small lakes, especially those with rooted, submerged vegetation, and occasionally in quiet streams. Bick (1950) found larvae from standing water in mud-bottomed ponds.
In 2012, Michigan had an in incursion of Trameas from the South.
Tramea calverti Muttkowski, 1910 - Striped Saddlebags
Tramea carolina (Linnaeus, 1763) - Carolina Saddlebags
Tramea lacerata Hagen, 1861 - Black Saddlebags
Tramea onusta Hagen, 1861 - Red Saddlebags
1a. Paraprocts longer than the epiproct (picture); lateral spines on Ab8 directed approximately straight posteriorly (picture); antennal segment 4 more than 0.67x the length of antennal segment 3 (picture) - T. carolina
1b. Paraprocts shorter than the epiproct (picture); lateral spines on Ab8 curved inwards (picture); antennal segment 4 less than 0.67x the length of antennal segment 3 (picture) - T. lacerta
Bick, G. H. 1950. The dragonflies of Mississippi (Odonata: Anisoptera). American Midland Naturalist 43:66-78.
Hagen, H. A. 1861. Synopsis of the Neuroptera of North America, with a list of the South American species. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 4:1-347.
Craves, J. A.. and D. S. O'Brien. 2011. Tramea calverti (Odonata: Libellulidae): new for Michigan with notes on other new reports from the Great Lakes region. Great Lakes Entomologist 44:78-82.
Huggins, D. G., and W. U. Brigham. 1982. Odonata. pp. 4.1-4.100, in Aquatic Insects and Oligochaetes of North and South Carolina. A. R. Brigham, W. U. Brigham, and A. Gnilka (eds.). Midwest Aquatic Enterprises: Mahomet, Illinois, USA.
Linne, C. 1763. Amoenitates academicae seu dissert, variae, etc. Vol. sextum. Homiae 1763. CXXI. Centuria Insectorum, etc. 32 pp. Johansson, Upsaliae.
Musser, R. J. 1962. Dragonfly nymphs of Utah (Odonata: Anisoptera). University of Utah Biological Series 12(6):1-66.
Walker, E. M., and J. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. 3. University of Toronto Press: Toronto. xvi + 308 pp.