The wings seem to be very transparent, so it’s possible too that these may be newly emerged dragonflies—when they first transition from the water nymph stage into dragonflies, they are very vulnerable. Dragonflies spend anywhere from two months to four years as nymphs, before reaching adulthood, living underwater. What does it take for you to stop and take notice and maybe even pull out a camera to photograph a subject? Watch Queue Queue Although I usually try to get close-up shots of dragonflies, there is something really peaceful about this longer distance shot of a male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) from this past weekend. 7 Comments ». I captured this image of a female Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) on Monday at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge. Flight Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) – 1.7”, 42-48 mm Record: (4/11-11/14) Peaks June-Sept. Abundant Habitat: Most freshwater habitats – prefers still, shallow water. Unlike many species with “common” in their names, Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia) actually are abundant and frequently seen during their peak season of June through September. If you click on the image, you’ll see that there is a pretty good amount of detail in the dragonfly—I chose not to highlight those details in this posting. You can unsubscribe at any time. At this time of the year there are still so few dragonflies around that I will try to photograph almost every single one that I see. This week the native wildflowers are glorious! I captured this image of a female Common Whitetail last Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Predator or prey? When I spotted this pair last Friday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, the spider had already immobilized the dragonfly and may have been injecting it with venom at that moment. The dragonfly in the first shot is well on his way to becoming an adult and was bold enough to be flying over the water. Common Whitetails are one of the first dragonflies to appear in the spring and they are around until late in the fall. Adults eat small flying insects like mosquitoes and gnats, making them a welcome natural control for pest insect populations. I can’t tell for sure if this image was auto-focused or was manually focused. All of them appear to be young ones, in particular the one in the final shot, whose wings have not yet acquired their final coloration, indicating that it has only recently emerged. Male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia), also known as a Long-tailed Skimmer. Posted in Dragonflies, dragonfly, Nature, Photography, Summer, wildlife, tagged Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Fairfax County Virginia, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm on June 14, 2020| Some of my favorite images are almost minimalist in their approach, like this shot of a male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia). 9 Comments ». However, it’s relatively easy to tell the immature males from the females, because their wing patterns are different. That doesn’t mean, though, that he has ceased to dream and to wish from time to time for those extra wings. Posted in Birds, Insects, Nature, Photography, Portraits, tagged Canon 55-250mm zoom lens, Canon Rebel XT, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, Plathemis lydia on September 21, 2012| They are capable of delivering a painful bite, but are not venomous. Other dragonflies engage in aerial dogfights or high-speed chases. Who hasn’t wished for an extra set of hands to get more done in this multi-tasking world? Later in the seasons, the Common Whitetail will in fact be common, but this early in the spring, I am pleased with my uncommon find. This is their principal mode of searching. I decided to try to treat the shot like a landscape and include the water of the pond in the background and the curling stem on which the dragonfly was perched in the foreground. I try to pay attention to even the most common subjects and when it comes to dragonflies, that means the aptly named Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia). Dragonflies aren’t an aggressive insect, but they can bite out of self-defense when they feel threatened. Is there some special secret that is passed on from generation to generation about optimal web placement for capturing prey? Click on the photo to see a higher resolution view. A short while later, she repeats the process. © 2012-20. My portrait below shows, however, that they possess their own special beauty. Whitetail dragonflies 'common' throughout the park Male common whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) I'm always somewhat embarrassed by any plant or animal that has been labeled "common." Posted in Dragonflies, dragonfly, Insects, Nature, Photography, wildlife, tagged Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Occoquan Regional Park, ovipositing, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm, Woodbridge VA on June 9, 2019| Can dragonflies sting? Posted in Dragonflies, Insects, Macro Photography, Nature, Photography, tagged Alexandria VA, Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm on May 21, 2016| They are among the first dragonflies to appear in the spring and among the last to disappear in the autumn. You can also tell the genders apart by looking at the tip of the abdomen (the “tail”) where the terminal appendages are sexually differentiated. The male's chunky white body (about 5 cm or 2 inches long), combined with the brownish-black bands on its otherwise translucent wings, give it a checkered look. A common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) . What do they see in each other? Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. It is a species that is easy to recognize by its chalky white coloration that is present on the broad abdomen of the mature males. A “tween” male–the abdomen is beginning to turn blue, but the adolescent body pattern still shows, An immature male, with the body pattern of a female and the wing pattern of an adult male, Posted in Art, Dragonflies, Insects, Macro Photography, Nature, Photography, Portraits, spring, wildlife, tagged Alexandria VA, Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, dragonfly, dragonfly eyes, Huntley Meadows Park, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm macro lens on May 10, 2014| Yesterday, I seemed to be particularly fascinated by insect eyes and did a posting on a fly, whose compound eyes were pretty amazing. Free Dragonfly Coloring Page ; Free Dragonfly Clip Art; More. Posted in Autumn, Dragonflies, dragonfly, Nature, Photography, wildlife, tagged Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm, Woodbridge VA on October 3, 2020| Whatever the case, this Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) appears to have mastered her trapping skills and looks to have caught both a female Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) and what I think is some kind of female grasshopper. Unlike many species with the word “common” in their names, Common Whitetail dragonflies are actually pretty common. The final shot is a portrait of a beautiful female Common Whitetail. As we move deeper into spring, dragonfly nymphs are emerging from the water and starting their transformed lives as acrobatic flyers. Common Whitetail Dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) #WildlifeInColumbus What group of animals has a 95% hunting rate of capturing its prey in midair? Over the last few weeks I have noticed more and more dragonflies at the ponds and marshes that I visit, an indication that many of the summer dragonfly species have emerged. "Common Whitetail Dragonfly" Dragonfly Dragonflies. This past Friday as I was walking around Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I spotted the twisted body of a dragonfly suspended in the air against a backdrop of the sky. My 180mm macro lens let me get some close-up shots without having to move too close. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I am regularly asked at talks and workshops whether dragonflies bite or sting. 25 Comments ». is Yes!, dragonflies bite! For me, it is the wonderful twisting curve of the vegetation that makes the shot work so well as an “artsy” environmental portrait of a Common Whitetail dragonfly. How else could they survive in the world out there? So now I have a female Common Whitetail, an immature male Common Whitetail – all I need to photo now is a mature male Common Whitetail. It was warming in the sun and allowed me to get very close without flying off. Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia), female Eastern Amberwing Many of you know that I will often spend lots of time looking for rare dragonfly species, but I try not to take for granted the more common ones that many people (and photographers) ignore. Posted in Bugs, Insects, Macro Photography, Nature, Photography, tagged Canon 55-250mm zoom lens, Canon Rebel XT, Common Whitetail dragonfly, dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, Plathemis lydia on May 11, 2013| Posted in Dragonflies, Insects, Macro Photography, Nature, Photography, spring, wildlife, tagged Alexandria VA, Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm macro lens on April 18, 2016| I can’t tell for certain, but the dragonflies in the bird’s mouth look to be female Common Whitetails (Plathemis lydia) or possibly immature males, which look like the females. Had a genie granted one of his wishes? This individual made it a easier for me to get some shots by perching almost vertically. As many readers know, I really like dragonflies, but spiders have to eat too. Where's the respect? But dragonflies don’t have a sting and so they certainly can’t sting you or anything else – all their hunting is done using their mouths. I really like the arc of the branch and the reflection of both the branch and the dragonfly in the still water of the marsh. When this female Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) landed on a metal sprinkler cover, though, I couldn’t help but like the contrast between the natural subject and the industrial background. The common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia) is a common dragonfly across much of North America, with a striking and unusual appearance. The composition is simple, the color palette is limited, and there is a pretty good amount of negative space. Do common whitetail dragonflies bite? The sun was a little harsh just before noon, but I couldn’t help chasing after the dragonflies and got this shot of a male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia). Odonates are completely harmless – they do not sting or bite. Here are a few images from the many we saw. While they do not exist for us, dragonflies have much to teach us. Common Whitetail dragonfly in mid-September, Posted in Bugs, Insects, Nature, Photography, wildlife, tagged Canon 55-250mm zoom lens, Canon Rebel XT, Common Whitetail dragonfly, dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, Plathemis lydia, reflection, reflection in water, white dragonfly on August 13, 2012| Males have wider bands of brown and clear wingtips (no, they are not wearing dress shoes—I am talking about the literal tips of the wings). Some dragonflies signal ownership with striking colors on the face, abdomen, legs, or wings. A dragonfly’s eyes also wrap around its head, giving it an incredible field of view. It is interesting at the small pond, which you can walk almost completely around, you tend to see many of one or two types in certain areas but not many in other areas. Can dragonflies bite? They are easy to identify and are such habitat generalists that they can be found almost anywhere. The wings are blurred, but you can still see the brown markings that identify this as a female, and not an immature male. Many of my photos are almost carbon copies of previous photos (you have to pretty old to remember carbon copies), but sometimes I manage to capture an image that is different and distinctive. Posted in Dragonflies, dragonfly, Insects, Nature, Photography, spring, wildlife, tagged Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Lyle Krahn, Occoquan Regional Park, Plathemis lydia, stopping power, Tamron 180mm, Woodbridge VA on May 9, 2019| As is often the case for species saddled with the name “common,” Common Whitetail dragonflies are uncommonly beautiful. Do you ever hear the music?”. If you look at the angle at which I took the shot, you can probably guess that I was at risk of falling into the water when I took the shot. It will then return to the same twig on which it was perched. In truth dragonflies are harmless to humans – unless you force your finger into their mouth. They are not as elegant and colorful as some other dragonflies and are somewhat stubby and drab (and, in fact, are called “common”). (If you want to know some more about this type of dragonfly, check out the article in Wikipedia as a start.) On Tuesday at Occoquan Bay Regional Park I stopped and photographed some Common Whitetail dragonflies as I was searching for some more exotic dragonfly species. A dragonfly eating its prey. Mature female Common Whitetail dragonflies have distinctive dark patches on their wings. Immediately she returned to her starting position as the ripples began to spread. It's such a degrading moniker: common yellowthroat, common grackle, common sandpiper, common dandelion, common bladderwort, etc. Thank you! Email your question to wildquestions@immediate.co.uk or post it to Q&A, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Immediate Media Company, Eagle House, Bristol, BS1 4ST. To try to compensate for that problem, I set the metering mode on my camera for spot metering and I was able to capture this shot. The subject is not unique and unusual—its name even indicates that it is “common.”. The combination of a long, almost prehensile tail and a perennial confusion between biting and stinging continually clouds the issue. We saw quite a few Common Whitetail Dragonflies while we were at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park. © Michael Q. Powell. In mid-April, however, they are much more rare and I was thrilled to spot this newly-emerged female this past Saturday at Huntley Meadows Park. At other times, I am forced to shoot them when they are a long way away, as was this case with the male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) in the photo below. I was surprised that there were only a few people in this usually busy park. Dragonflies belong to an order of insects called Odonata, of which there are 5,000 species across three sub-groups: Anisoptera, Anisozygoptera, and Zygoptera – the last of which are the “cousins” of dragonflies known as damselflies.. One of the earliest dragonflies to appear in our area is the Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) and it is also one of the last to be seen in the fall. The result was a kind of dramatic lighting effect that helps me to highlight the uncommon beauty of this common species. Posted in Dragonflies, Humor, Insects, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Reptiles, wildlife, tagged Alexandria VA, canon 50, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, odd couple, Plathemis lydia, sunbathing, Tamron 180mm macro lens, turtle on August 27, 2013| A close look at the image, however, reveals that the extra wings are merely illusions, shadowy reflections of a more ordinary reality. This species is one of the first to appear in the spring and one of the last to disappear in the fall. Dragonfly Books; Other Insects; Animals; Plants; Rocks; Male Common Whitetail Image may be used for personal use only. Their strong jaws instantly paralyze the prey with a single bite. I also often find the ebony jewelwing, a species of damselfly, fluttering along the creek. Posted in Dragonflies, Insects, Macro Photography, Nature, Photography, spring, wildlife, tagged Alexandria VA, Canon 50D, Common Whitetail, Common Whitetail dragonfly, dragonfly, Huntley Meadows Park, Lydia plathemis, Tamron 180mm macro lens on April 27, 2015| Dragonflies do bite, and they will bite humans, but only if you catch one and it’s trying to escape or defend itself. 5 Comments ». How do spiders decide where to place their webs? Sometimes that involves photographing them when they are flying, as I showed in a posting earlier today. What is the most common dragonfly where you live? … Posted in Arachnids, Nature, Photography, spiders, Summer, wildlife, tagged Argiope aurantia, Black and yellow garden spider, Canon 50D, Common Whitetail dragonfly, Fort Belvoir VA, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Plathemis lydia, Tamron 180mm on August 28, 2019| Often I see the webs of this kind of spider in fairly thick vegetation, but this web was hanging in mid-air about six feet high at the edge of a small pond last weekend at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. Blue Dasher dragonflies seem to have disappeared from my local marshland, but I was happy today to see that the Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia) are still around. Here’s a portion of that posting that describes the concept, “I think every beautiful scene has stopping power. The fact that the dragonfly was not perched on a branch coming out of the water proved to and advantage as I was able to approach pretty closely to it in order to take this shot. The simple answer is NO. Female Common Whitetail dragonflies do not have a white tail and in many ways that makes them a little easier to expose correctly. 4 Comments ». The common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) dashes towards an intruder holding its white abdomen aloft like a flag. 6 Comments ». Will this impress the ladies? Leave a Comment ». A female must mate with the territory holder before laying her eggs. 11 Comments ». The first two shots below are of male Common … "It's more about the … Dragonflies sometimes look like aliens to me, with their giant eyes and other worldly flying skills. The wings are blurred, but you can still see the brown markings that identify this as a female, and not an immature male. When I was walking past a small pond, however, I spotted the dragonfly flying over the water. The dragonfly is a male, but has not yet acquired the bright white of an adult male, which made things a little easier. 7 Comments ». 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