Scientific Name: Orthetrum albistylum (Libellulidae).
English Name: White-tailed Skimmer (Chasers, Skimmers and Darters family).
French Name: L'Orthétrum à cercoïdes blancs (='white appendaged skimmer'); l'Orthétrum à stylets blancs (='white stylused skimmer').
5 Key Characters:
- white appendages on the tip of the abdomen.
- black pterostigmas (the coloured cell on the leading edge of each wing, near the tip).
- pale stripes on the thorax, including an obvious mid-line running between the wings.
- pale washed out colours (males blue, females yellowish).
- males have black tips to their abdomen (with white appendages).
Lookalikes: Black-tailed Skimmer O. cancellatum, which is more robust and darker, with black appendages.
Habitat: Stillish warm open ponds, étangs and lakes. Also gravel pits, oxbows, millponds, ditches and canals. Tolerates eutrophic (nutrient polluted) water.
Flight Period: May-June-July-August-September.
Status: Common in the Brenne and south of the Loire. Has been extending its range northwards since the beginning of the 20th century. A pioneer species of new sites, but often pushed out by Black-tailed Skimmer after establishing a population. Always less abundant than the Black-tailed Skimmer. Intensive fish farming is detrimental to the species.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: