Thursday, June 15, 2017

Species Spotlight: Dot-tailed Whiteface

Just a few days ago Betsy and I went to Heart Lake in Anacortes on a nice sunny, warm day. The dragonfly activity is picking up there now. We saw Common Green Darners, California Darners, a Variegated Meadowhawk. We also saw several Dot-tailed Whitefaces, our first of the year.

Here's the location of Heart Lake:

The Dot-tailed Whiteface is a mostly black, small dragonfly that loves to perch on lily pads. It's key field marks include a yellow dot on the abdomen (tail), and a chalk white face.

Not often noted, but also an interesting field mark, are the white wing tips, which are formed by light-colored wing veins that extend beyond the stigmas. You can see the white tips on three of the wings in the photo above, but the fourth wing tip is hidden in the shadows.

Here's another look at the Dot-tailed Whiteface:

Females look much like males, though more brownish in overall color.

The eyes of the Dot-tailed Whiteface are so black, and so shiny, that they show interesting reflections. The next photo shows a Dot-tailed Whiteface looking at the camera:

The two bright, almost circular, spots are reflections of the sun, much as you would see in a football helmet, as indicated below:

The broader, paler white patches in the eye are reflections of the bright white face.

Take a look for this interesting dragonfly on a lily pad near you!

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