Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Division of Entomology

Common Whitetail

Plathemis lydia [formerly Libellula lydia]

Drury, 1773

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The Common Whitetail male is easily recognizable by the black band across each wing and the chalky white abdomen. Females have three dark spots in each wing. Their abdomens are brown with white zig-zag side stripes (unlike the similar female Twelve-spotted Skimmer which has a smooth, uninterrupted side stripe). The young males have abdomens marked like females and wings marked like adult males.

Very common. Nebraska is on the western edge of the eastern form'srange and the species is difficult to find in far western counties.This pond species is often dominant in shallow, muddy ponds mostlyavoided by the other large skimmers. Muddy backwaters of largerivers are equally attractive.

Common Whitetail
Common Whitetail male

Size: 42-48 mm (1.7-1.9 in)

Habitat: ponds, lakes and some streams

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, NM, CO, WY, MT, MO, IA, MN

Flight season: mid May to mid September

Common Whitetail map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.


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