Plathemis Hagen,1861(Libellulidae) - Whitetails
Plathemis lydia Drury,1773 - Common Whitetail

Notes -References
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Page last updated: 16 July1998

Notes on Plathemis lydiain Michigan

Plathemis is agenus of two species, of which one - P.lydia - is widespread in North Americaand is found throughout Michigan (Map 1).

Map 1: County distribution ofPlathemis (=Libellula)lydia in Michigan
Click on map for a larger image

These are stout, robust smooth larvae whichinhabit both ponds and sheltered inlets of lakes as well as poolsegments of streams. Adults emerge in very late May through the firsthalf of June. One specimen collected by Ed Kormondy in the MapleRiver, Emmet Co. in the northern LP on 20 August 1953, haswell-developed wing pads, indicating either another population withlate emergence, or larvae that may exhibit developmental diapauseuntil emergence the following year.

Closely related to Libellula andLadona,some researchers prefer to retain Plathemis withinLibellula(see discussion under Libellula). Larvae of Plathemis aredistinguished from other Libellula by the curved,crenated premental front margin that have small setae withincrenation notches (picture), and from Ladona by the the presenceof more than 9 premental dorsal setae (3 or less in Ladona) and the lack ofmid-dorsal spines on abdomenal segments 7 and 8 which also often showdark, longitudinal stripes (picture). Levine (1957) gives a minutely-detailed morphological description ofthe larva and a key to differentiate between the two species ofPlathemis(P. lydiaand P. subornata).

Other links with information on the biology orecology of larval Plathemis:
none found so far (15 January 1998)


Drury, D. 1773.Illustrations of natural history. Vol. 2. White: London. 90pp.

Hagen, H. A. 1861.Synopsis of the Neuroptera of North America, with a list of the SouthAmerican species. SmithsonianMiscellaneous Collections 4 (1862). 347pp.

Levine, J. R. 1957.Anatomy and taxonomy of the mature naiads of the dragonfly genusPlathemis (Family Libellulidae). Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 134(11):1-28.

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