The dot-tailed whiteface is aptly named. Mature males have a black thorax and abdomen, with a prominent, squarish yellow spot on top of the seventh abdominal or “tail” segment. The ivory white face is seen in both males and females and is nicely shown in this photo. Females have a brown thorax, yellow along the sides (segments three to five), and yellow streaks on top, with a short, squarish spot on top of segment seven. To add some confusion to the mix, young males have a female pattern and older females have a male pattern, whew!
This is one of the first dragonflies to emerge in spring (May and early June) in the northern half of the US into Canada. They are on the wing into August and can often be spotted perching on the ground in sunny openings. On hot days you may even see them in a handstand-like position (obelisking) to control their temperature.
Photo by: Kelly Dix on 6/27/21 at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville, MT