It’s a rare treat to run into a dragonfly species that I have not seen before, even if it is a fairly common one. Such was the case last Saturday when I stumbled into a female Belted Whiteface, Leucorrhinia proxima, formerly called the Red Waisted Whiteface.
I spotted this individual on the levee near the Swan Creek Dam. At first I thought it was a Dot Tailed Whiteface, given the dark abdomen and the prominent yellow spot on it’s back. But it was noticeably smaller than the Dot Tail and flew and perched differently – often coming to a perch and obelisking on plant stems a foot or so above the ground. The white underside of the abdomen really stood out, and I realized that this was something different.
Here’s another shot showing the markings on the back of the abdomen, similar to the Dot Tailed Whiteace:
Though hard to see on the web sized image above, there are clearly three rows of cells radiating out from the forewing triangle, which is a good ID guide for this species. (This led me go back and check the wing cell pattern in the Frost Whiteface, that I spotted last summer, and I confirmed that was correctly identified based on the two rows of cells following the forewing triangle.)
Hi, Mark. FYI: the number of cell rows past the forewing cell is variable in Belted Whiteface (L. proxima) – they can have either two or three. Dennis Paulson has a photo of one with a differnt number on each wing!
Comment from: Member
That’s interesting - I thought that was a definitive way to ID this species!
So did we! We’ll be writing a post about this sometime soon.
Always enjoy looking at your photos, Mark.