Common Whitetail

Male common whitetail dragonfly perched on a twig
Scientific Name
Plathemis lydia
Libellulidae (skimmers) in the order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)

The common whitetail is a widespread species found across much of North America. It has a distinctively short, stout abdomen.

As with many species of dragonflies, male and female common whitetails look quite a bit different.

Mature males have a chalky bluish-white abdomen and single broad dark band per wing.

Females have a brown body with a row of pale yellowish triangular marks on each side of the abdomen. Each wing has 3 evenly spaced dark blotches.

Young males resemble females but have the wing pattern of mature males. They develop the distinctive white abdomen as they mature.

Learn more about this and other dragonflies on their group page.

Other Common Names
White-Tailed Skimmer
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Similar Species
About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.