Male Common Whitetails

Subject: Libelludae– Common Whitetail–Plathemis lydia
Location: Niagara Region, Ontario
July 10, 2012 4:00 pm
Hello, Bugman
A while back I sent you a dragonfly for id. I just wanted to let you know that I was finally able to id it myself. I came across the id on your site while searching for what I thought was a completely different dragonfly. I have attached both the original picture I sent you (the female) with the second picture (male). The photos were taken at different locations several weeks apart, so alas, no buglove going on here!
The second photo is not as great as I didn’t have my zoom lens and wasn’t able to get very close.
Signature: Alison

Common Whitetail:  Immature Male

Hi Alison,
We agree with you having correctly identified these Dragonflies as Common Whitetails, but we disagree with your assessment that one is a female and the other a male.  We believe both examples are males of the species.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have different wing patterns … Immature males have the same body pattern as females but the same wing pattern as mature males”.  Both your individuals have the wing patterns of males.  Your photos are an excellent addition to our archive.

Common Whitetail: Mature Male

Thank you for the correction! I missed that detail. I’m only starting to id dragonflies and they prove far more difficult than butterflies.

We always have trouble with Dragonflies and we were thrilled to see an identification in your subject line.


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