Dragonflies including female Whitetail

Subject: Dragonflies
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
July 13, 2016 12:42 pm
After a season away from my rain garden due to heart surgery (I received a “heart pump” and am on the transplant list), I finally returned to my garden this Spring 2016. I was so excited, just like a kid waiting for Christmas which, of course, means my plants weren’t blooming quickly enough and the insects weren’t returning soon enough.
Our native bees have slowly been awakening/returning, as have a few wasps and flies. The grasshoppers have hatched so they will be growing, and I have an abundant crop of Milkweed Bugs which does not thrill me. As I weed and come across their larvae I dispatch a few and return them to the dirt. Seems to be quite the year for Earwigs, too.
For butterflies I’ve seen an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, some Red Admirals, a Common Buckeye (a first for me), a Monarch, a beat up Great Spangled Fritillary (wing edges shredded) and several Sulphurs. I keep thinking they are all late, but we had an “early” Spring so my rhythm is off and I’m further along in the season than the insects.
I’m including three photos I took in early June of Dragonflies: two are differing angles of a “spotted body” spotted wing dragonfly, and the other is amber/honey colored. I do not know the varieties of dragonflies, though could probably tell a damselfly from a dragonfly. Can you further educate me?
Thanks so much!
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Female Whitetail
Female Whitetail

Dear Wanda,
We are sorry to hear about your health problems and we hope things turn out well.  It is nice to hear you are enjoying your rain garden.  The spotted Dragonfly is a female Whitetail,
Plathemis lydia, which we identified thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “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.”  We have several images of male Common Whitetails in our archives, but your image is the first female we have identified.  We will attempt to identify the other Dragonfly you submitted.


Wow, Daniel.
I actually submitted something y’all didn’t have in your archives! How cool is that?!
Glad I contributed to such an awesome, informative and educational endeavor you and your volunteers have going there.
As I see it, we all have health problems of some sort, whether we acknowledge them or not. I fully expect to be on the list for a donor heart for three years or more. So long as this heart pump (technical term is LVAD) keeps working, I’ll be okay. My goal following surgery for the pump was to get back to my gardening and photographing nature doing her thing in my little corner of this great big world. I’m only 53 so I have oodles of things I still want to do. No bucket list or grand plans to travel the world (I’d make a terrible traveler with my vertigo and motion sickness). Just simple things, like tending my rain garden, keeping a photo journal of the things I see here and at Mom’s (she has 24 birdfeeders and is a Certified Wildlife Habitat through NWF), create photo cards for Mom to send, that kind of thing. I’m also planning to make some educational photo albums for the Community Room here at the apartments so the residents can see photos of what I see in the garden and if I include some information about what the photo is depicting, they might learn a few things they did not already know. I just can’t keep the learning and education to myself!
I am beginning to think I’m a closet naturalist, except I don’t draw in a notebook, I use my camera instead. And then I share what I observe with others after reading and learning more!
Keep up the good buzzing, humming, and fluttering!

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