Sunday, July 30, 2023

Long-tailed Skimmer Dragonflies


There’s a public garden near me where patches of wildflowers are surrounded by rings of cobblestones. The stones are favorite perching spots for dragonflies. A few days ago, the place was a-flutter with long-tailed skimmer dragonflies. This one is a female. Note the three brown spots on each wing and rows of triangular spots on the side of the abdomen. Click to enlarge.

Here’s an immature male of the same species. It has a different wing pattern – one wide dark stripe on each wing. Long-tailed skimmers, also called common whitetails, are found across North America.

This is a mature male. Easy to why it's called a whitetail, right? The white mark is not actual color, it’s an accumulation of waxy particles that give the tail a frosted dusty look. These males are territorial, defending an area of marsh, pond, or river by driving off other males and mating with females that choose to lay eggs there. That tail is a signal to all that a white-tail-slinging dragonfly male is on the job. 

Hot summer, but the dragonflies seem to be enjoying it. 

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