From the time the first dragonflies emerge in May we see booming populations of new dragonfly varieties every couple weeks. In Muskoka, this (mid-summer) is the season for the Common Whitetail dragonfly, Plathemis lydia. These large dragonflies have a reputation as being one of the fastest and most acrobatic flyers. They apparently have one of the greatest flight muscle to body mass ratios of any creature on the planet!
The adult male Common Whitetail dragonflies are easily identified by their white bodies. Juvenile males have the same wing markings but brown bodies. In the photos above there is a mature male Whitetail dragonfly sitting on a rock, as well as two photos showing the differences between adult male and adult female Whitetail dragonflies (resting on bricks). Not only are the females slightly smaller and all brown but their wing markings are different too.
These big and strong dragonflies are exactly what we need around here at this time of year to take on the numerous deer flies and the huge and quick horseflies. When I’m out in the canoe or walking in long grass I know I’m in good hands when I have these dragonflies circling and dive-bombing me. Annoying biting insects are no match for a Whitetail!