Friday, June 24, 2016

Chalk-fronted Corporal and Frosted Whiteface

On 21 June 2016, Erika and I took a long walk in the Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Dakota County, Minnesota. The numbers and diversity of dragonflies were exceptional. Hundreds of Chalk-fronted Corporals greeted us. This ode gets the name from the two, gray chevrons on top of their thorax. These bars look like a corporal’s insignia.
The less mature Chalk-fronts did not show their rank as well as the adult male corporals. As I looked at them, I realized that immatures might be hard to tell from Frosted Whiteface. Understand, I had Frosted Whiteface on my mind. I had never seen one, but had vowed to try to find this species in 2016. So I had studied up on them, but expected to find them another day and further north in Minnesota.
I started looking at the corporals more closely. Towards the end of our hike, without a doubt, I found my Frosted Whiteface. In the photograph above, despite a superficial similarity to immature Chalk-fronted Corporals, you can see the “frosty” pruinosity on the top of the abdomen. They white marks on the wings may also be significant—and look at the white mouthparts! This first Frosted Whiteface is a male.
Nearby flew several other whitefaces that were much brighter than the first. These are probably immature males. Frosted Whiteface range across the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Minnesota is as far west as they are normally found. These individuals are the first ever reported from Dakota County.

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