Friday, May 11, 2012

The Year's First Skimmer

Here is the first Skimmer (family Libellulidae)  of 2012. It is a teneral (newly emerged) female Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) . I found her on the window screen last night. That she is newly emerged is  evident because her wings are so perfectly clear and shiny. I had to check that it wasn't a 12 Spotted Skimmer as the females are very similar. But no such luck. Its all down to the colour of the stripes on the thorax. These are pure yellow in the 12 Spotted but yellow shading to white in the Whitetail as here:

And yes she is perched on my finger. Last night was a little cooler and she was very docile. I got some closeups like this and then put her back somewhere with a little better cover than the white window frame.

I looked back to last year and I didnt see my first Whitetail until May 30th. It was a male already turned blue though, so it was a few days old at that point. Still it seems we are a little earlier than 2011 and hardly suprising considering the extremely mild winter and warm spring.

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