Thursday, September 22, 2011

ID Challenge #3

It’s time once again for an identification challenge! All you have to go on is this pair of wings (fore wing on top; hind wing below), but it is a species which occurs in the Pacific Northwest. Most people should be able to narrow it down to a couple of options pretty easily, but which one is it?

Leave a comment to let me know what you think it is even if you’re not sure. Comment moderation will be turned on until I post the answer, so they will not be visible in the mean time.

Postscript, 27 September 2011

This challenge is now closed. The answer with a complete discussion is here.


  1. I'm going with Plathemis lydia, common whitetail, based on the jagged appearance of the spot in the middle of the hind wing. We don't get these in my part of the country though, so I'm mostly remembering this one from when I was a teen growing up in Colorado... Hope I'm right!

  2. I think the choices here are female Twelve-spotted Skimmer or female Common Whitetail. Based on the shape of the forewing (rather broad, with relative wide tips), I'd opt for the latter. I think the forewing of a Twelve-spot should look longer and skinnier ... just my 2 cents.

    Hendrik Herlyn, Corvallis

  3. Female Common Whitetail?

    greg haworth

  4. Challenge 3: I'm thinking your wings might belong to a female Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia.

  5. Female Libellula pulchella (Twelve-spotted skimmer)? (Don't know how to italicize or underline on this blog.)

  6. Thanks everyone for commenting! The correct answer is Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) and a complete discussion is in the next post.