Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly

A few images of a female Common Whitetail Dragonfly taken along a walk at the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve in NJ. I was using a Canon 300mm f/4 lens on a Canon 7D, mainly because it was lighter to carry for a long walk. The background is a little busy with the sandy & pebble path. But it cooperated by not flying off!

Common Whitetail Female v2_MG_8077Common Whitetail Female v3_MG_8109Common Whitetail Female_MG_8064 v2Common Whitetail Female v2_MG_8103

11 Comments on “Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly

  1. Gorgeous shots, Reed, of this handsome dragonfly. It is hard to avoid a somewhat cluttered background when a dragonfly perches on the ground, something that Common Whitetails love to do. I am pretty sure that your dragonfly is actually an immature male and not a female. Although the body coloration is the same as with the females, the wing pattern is different. Males have a large dark patch on each wing that extends the entire width of the wings, like those in your photos. Females have a smaller dark patch that does not extend the entire width of the wings and also have dark tips on their wings. The final shot in a post I did earlier this month shows the wing pattern of a female Common Whitetail (https://michaelqpowell.com/2020/06/14/most-common-dragonfly/).

      • I still have issues with identifying dragonflies (and birds) quite often. Over time I have gotten a bit better at seeing differences and knowing which body parts are the most critical for identification. Immature specimens are often the most difficult, in part because guidebooks frequently show only the adults.

      • I agree! I usually only look at the Dragonflies body and forget about the wing patterns! My most used reference is the Delmarva dragonflies and damselflies web site. But it is still a learning experience! Plus at my age I tend to forget IDs!! I have given up on ID damselflies!!

      • I tend to use the website Dragonflies of Northern Virginia for info on dragonflies, especially the part which is called “identify.” http://dragonfliesnva.com/. I have a hardcopy identification guide called “Damselflies of the Northeast” that is pretty good, but often turn for help to experts in the Facebook groups Northeast Odonata, Southeastern Odes, and Virginia Odonata.

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