Relatively little information is currently available on the biology of this diminutive dragonfly. However, as in other dragonflies its aquatic larvae, known as nymphs, are likely to be opportunistic predators which take a variety of prey. In general, dragonfly nymphs ambush their prey, catching it by shooting out their fiercely hooked lower jaw, or ‘labium’, which impales the victim and drags it back to the mouth (9). The nymphs of the elfin skimmer are reported to occur in small pools and puddles in sphagnum, away from the water’s edge (8).
Like other dragonfly nymphs, the nymphs of the elfin skimmer go through a number of developmental stages, or ‘instars’, before emerging as an adult dragonfly (9). This species may spend as long as two years as a nymph before it emerges as an adult (3). Adult elfin skimmers are seen between May and September (2) and, like the nymphs, are opportunistic predators. All dragonflies have acute vision and excellent powers of flight, and typically hunt flying insects on the wing (9).
The elfin skimmer characteristically droops its wings while perching (2) (5). This species often perches in low shrubs and sedges around water (2), and usually forages low over bogs, flying in and out of the vegetation (5).
The male elfin skimmer holds a small territory at a breeding pool, defending it against rival males (2) (10). The female lays her eggs by tapping the water a few times with her abdomen, releasing the eggs into the water (2) (9), and she is often guarded by the male at this time (2) (5).