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Dragonfly Thoracic Patterns

The overall color of the thorax is important, but the pattern, position, and color of the markings is even more significant.  These markings are considered to be in two general areas, the frontal or dorsal plates and the side of the thorax

Frontal (dorsal) Markings:

Many clubtails have complex patterns that can be critical for identification

Some species have only partial frontal stripes.  The extent can be significant, especially in cruisers

Many skimmers have a plain frontal plate; others may have indistinct markings

Some species develop pruinosity like this White Corporal.  It may be blue or gray in other species.

Lateral (side) Markings:

Side stripes vary in number, color and shape, all are important for ID

Some dragons only have small spots like this Fawn Darner and many Emeralds

Many have mottled patterns or multiple stripes like this female Blue Dasher

The exact shape of spots can be important, such as the forward projection on this female Great Blue Skimmer

Helpful Hints:

  • In the Darner family the color and shape of the lateral thoracic stripes or spots are critical for identification

  • In the Clubtail family, the pattern of the dorsal (frontal) thoracic stripes and shoulder stripes is frequently more important than the side stripes.

  • Cruisers have a single lateral thoracic stripe that actually extends over the top between the wings. This may place your Ode in the family, but the extent of the frontal stripes is actually more important in species ID.

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