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genus: Plathemis


This genus is remarkable for the striking differences in appearance between males and females.  These are stocky skimmers with pruinose covering a good portion their abdomen.  Both species of this genus are similar in appearance except that the Desert Whitetail has much more pruinosity at the base of the wings and displays a different wing patterning.  Both species have dark eyes with a dark thorax with pale yellow markings.  Whitetails are close relatives of the Corporals and king skimmers.  of muddy ponds that spend much of their time perching on the ground and other flat substrates.  Males have spectacularly pruinose abdomens, and both sexes display striking wing markings.  One  species is common continent-wide; the other is restricted to the southwest. Corporals and king skimmers are close relatives. Medium size low perching. chunky species in which males have pruinose white abdomens.

Females similar to males but have different wing patterns, pale yellow spots on the abdomen are present in both species, but are located at different locations on the abdomen. 

Whitetails generally can be seen perched away from water on the ground or other flat surfaces, logs, rocks or in dirt.  It is easily observed because it generally perches out in the open.  Males can be observed perching on twigs or sedge stems at the waters edge foraging for food or looking for females.  They have been noted to perch for long periods of time. There habitats are generally slow moving streams in desert regions; lakes and ponds.



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