Because this genus is part of the skimmer family, which I’ve already blogged about, let’s call this…
Know Your Dragonflies Part 1b: Genus Leucorrhinia, the Whitefaces
It’s hard to explain why I would call these my favorite dragonflies (at least, of those I’ve identified so far). They’re small, and pretty in a subtle way, and they love boggy boreal habitats. They’re just cool! This is a genus within the family Libellulidae that contains about fifteen species, and they’re called whitefaces for one simple reason.
See his white face??? The technical term for an insect’s face is the frons. Below is another shot of the same dragonfly from another angle – you can see that he’s sitting in a spruce tree, which gives you a nice clue about the habitat (these were taken in a bog). I think this is a male Hudsonian Whiteface, Leucorrhinia hudsonica, but please correct me in the comments if I’ve got that wrong. Check out his cherry-red markings.
Most whiteface species seem to have males patterned in red or white and females patterned in yellow. Here is a male Frosted Whiteface, Leucorrhinia frigida…
…and here is a female Frosted Whiteface. Yellow markings, and I love the amber coloration at the base of the wings too.
One last photo, which is a crappy photo but I’m including it anyway for two reasons. 1) I nearly fell into a lake while taking it; this dragonfly was sitting on a lily pad several feet out into the water. 2) This one is super easy to identify; it’s a Dot-tailed Whiteface, Leucorrhinia intacta, so called because of the single bright yellow dot on its abdomen. (Also, my field guide says it’s “often found in conjunction with water-lilies,” and I love it when critters do exactly what the books say.)
I’m really pleased with how much dragonfly ID I’ve been able to learn in the last couple months just by keeping my eyes open, taking photos when I can, and combing through a field guide and various websites. Yet another reason to love living in an area so rich in lakes, bogs, and other odonate-friendly habitats!