Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Division of Entomology

Desert Whitetail

Plathemis subornata [formerly Libellula subornata]

Hagen, 1861

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The Desert Whitetail male resembles the Common Whitetail male, with its black band across each wing and the chalky white abdomen. It also has chalky white on the base of each wing. Females have three dark spots in each wing. Their abdomens are brown with broken yellow side stripes, and they have a pair of yellow thoracic stripes. Young males are marked like females.

Uncommon. This western replacement for Common Whitetail is at the northernand eastern edge of its range in Nebraska. It is frequently found with Common Whitetail but is more common in narrow, stagnant or slow-moving streams where the grass almost meets over the stream and Common Whitetail is not found. At any place where the stream widens, one finds both species interacting. It seems reliable in subsequent years at sites where collected.

Desert Whitetail


Size: 40-51 mm (1.6-2.0 in)

Habitat: springs, pools and ponds

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, NM, CO, WY

Flight season: early July to late July

Desert Whitetail map

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


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