What Time is it in Nature: Common Whitetail Dragonfly

I wrote this for the blog at the museum where I work a few weeks ago. Thought you all might be interested!

NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs

Summer is nearly here, and the dragonflies have returned to Prairie Ridge!  On any given day, you might see 15 or 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies at the pond, but some species are more common than others.  The Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia), as the name suggests, is one of the most commonly spotted dragonflies at Prairie Ridge.

Common whitetail male at the pond

Common Whitetails are found throughout the US and in every county in North Carolina, so they are one of the most common species in the country.  They are medium-sized dragonflies that reach lengths of just under 2 inches with wingspans of about 2.25 inches and have relatively broad abdomens.  Males, as seen in the image above, have wide black or dark brown bands along the center of each wing and a bright white abdomen.  Females look quite different, sporting three black spots along the upper edge of each wing and brown abdomens with…

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2 thoughts on “What Time is it in Nature: Common Whitetail Dragonfly

  1. While walking my dog this morning, I noticed lots of dragonflies near our wooded areas. This is very unusual for our area. Are dragonflies symbolic of anything? Thanks.

    • Was it what you’d call a swarm? If so, what you were seeing was a feeding group of dragonflies taking advantage of an abundance of prey. And if so, I hope you’ll consider reporting it to my dragonfly swarm project! You can find a form in the link at the top of the page if you’d like to share your observations.

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