Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Frosted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia frigida)

Judging by the number of individuals and mating pairs present, these small dragonflies are breeding in the marsh bounding the Eastern Ontario Trail, about one kilometer west of town. While the odd Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta) may also be seen in this habitat they seem to prefer the north shore of Stoco Lake, where they are much more common.

Rather than me having me pursue him through the marsh, this male decided to pay me a visit at home and obligingly posed for some nice closeup shots.
This little guy is just beginning to mature and develop the white bloom typical of his species on the first segments of the abdomen. The sides of the thorax are marbled much more strongly than illustrated for a Frosted Whiteface in my field guide. But there's not a hint of red anywhere so I don't think this is a Belted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia proxima) ... too bad I didn't think of taking a closeup of the hamule.

Whitefaces may seem drab at first glance in the field, and are often overlooked in favour of their larger gaudier cousins, but these small dragonflies are just as vibrant and make perfectly good subjects for a photograph or drawing.

EDIT ... my skills at separating similar looking Leucorrhinia species were rough around the edges when these photos were originally posted. Having re-examined the images (particularly the wing venation) I think the dragonflies, particularly the male perching on my finger, are Belted Whitefaces (Leucorrhinia proxima).