Dragonflies are beginning to make their appearance in our backyards. These aerial predators are on the prowl looking for mosquitoes and other small insects.
The first species to show up in my backyard this spring was the common whitetail (Plathemis lydia). The male of the species (depicted here) is not difficult to identify. Its body varies from white to pale blue. This dragonfly’s eyes are brown. The insect’s clear wings are marked with wide bands about halfway between the tips of its wings and body. The leading edge of this bands display slender streaks that project toward the tip of the wings. The insect measures roughly 1.5 – 1.9 inches in length.
The bodies of immatures and females are brown and marked with white lateral stripes. The wings of immature males resemble those of adult males. In comparison, one of the main differences between the pattern of the female’s wings and those of the adult male is they are tipped in brown and black. Since immatures and females are sometimes tricky to separate from other similar species, it is always best to consult a field guide when trying to identify them.
It is possible to see common whitetails in yards across the state, however, chances are best if you live near water.
Here in the Peach State common whitetails fly from March into early November.