Wisconsin Odonata Survey

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Plathemis lydia  (Drury, 1773)
Common Whitetail


Libellulidae, Skimmer Family

Species of the genus Libellula (king skimmers) often perch on shoreline vegetation, are stout bodied, and usually have distinctive body and wing patterns.

Status-Global/State:

Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The stocky male has a pruinose white abdomen and a brown thorax. His wings have wide dark bands and small basal marks. The brown female is similar to the female twelve-spotted skimmer with 12 dark markings on the wings. The female has some white markings on its abdomen, creating a zigzag appearance down the sides. The length of the body varies from 1.7 to 1.9 inches

Description of Habitat/Range:

Common throughout United States and southern Canada, it is found at almost any non-moving or slow waters, including marshes and ponds. It seems to tolerate disturbed habitats. The common whitetails are often found in same areas as the twelve-spotted skimmers. It is widely distributed throughout Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

Mid-May to late August in Wisconsin.


Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
6%
(64)
48%
(541)
36%
(400)
9%
(106)
1%
(15)
Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male common whitetail
Male common whitetail. © Dan Jackson

Male common whitetail
Photo of Male common whitetail
Male common whitetail. © Cleveland Mus. of Nat. Hist. (Renee Boronka)

Male common whitetail
Photo of Immature male common whitetail
Immature male common whitetail. © Dan Jackson

Immature male common whitetail
Photo of Female common whitetail
Female common whitetail. © Dan Jackson

Female common whitetail
Photo of Female common whitetail
Female common whitetail. © Mike Reese

Female common whitetail
Photo of Ovipositing female common whitetail
Ovipositing female common whitetail. © Dan Jackson

Ovipositing female common whitetail
Photo of Teneral female common whitetail
Teneral female common whitetail. © Dan Jackson

Teneral female common whitetail



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