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Common Whitetail Dragonfly

Libellula lydia/Plathemis lydia


This is an immature male Common Whitetail, also known as the Long-Tailed Skimmer. The male's chunky white body (about 5 cm long), combined with the brownish-black bands on its otherwise translucent wings, give it a checkered look. Females have a brown body and a different pattern of wing spots, closely resembling that of female Libellula pulchella, the Twelve-spotted Skimmer. Whitetail females can be distinguished by their smaller size, shorter bodies, and white zigzag abdominal stripes; L. puchella's abdominal stripes are straight and yellow. Juveniles have green-brown tails with white dots on its side and wings the same as adults.


They can be found at ponds, marshes, and slow-moving rivers in most regions except the higher mountain regions. Common Whitetails feed on aquatic invertebrates such as mayfly larvae and small crayfish, and also on small aquatic vertebrates such as tadpoles and minnows. They also eat smaller insects such as flies, gnats, and mosquitoes.


I saw this guy flying around my garden and caught a picture of him when he took a break to rest on the bricks of my patio.

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Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Lat: 41.68, Long: -71.46

Spotted on Jul 9, 2011
Submitted on Jul 9, 2011

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