Common Whitetail Dragonflies

31, 2010
Hi Daniel
Here are two photos of dragonflies taken today. I noticed one has much more white, I have been wondering if one is male and the other female or are they two different species? Thanks You very much and have a wonderful day.
North Middle Tennessee

Male Common Whitetail

Dear Richard,
Both of your individuals are Common Whitetails, Plathemis lydia, and both are males.  The individual with the white abdomen is a mature male.  The other is immature.  According to BugGuide:  “Immature males have the same body pattern as females but the same wing pattern as mature males.
BugGuide also indicates: Females have a short, stout abdomen with several oblique dorsolateral white or pale yellow markings against a brown ground color; each wing has three black evenly-spaced blotches rather than the two uneven blotches on the wings of the male.  BugGuide has a nice image illustrating the difference between the male and female.  The species ranges throughout the contiguous United States and much of Canada.

Common Whitetail

1 thought on “Common Whitetail Dragonflies”

  1. Thank You so much Daniel, I never would have guessed that the difference was just a matter of age. I have learned more from you and your website then any place in a long time. (Just proves that you are never too old to learn.)


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