|Orthetrum is a genus of dragonflies
in the Libellulidae family. It is a very large genus, spread across the
Orthetrum albistylum (Selys, 1848),
the White-Tailed Skimmer, is a fairly large dragonfly with a patchy distribution
in Central and Eastern Europe, but where it occurs it can do so in massive
numbers. Orthetrum albistylum is very similar to its much more widespread
congener the Black-Tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), and yet it's
sufficiently different to allow easy identification in the field; the species'
main distinguishing feature (apart from its slightly more slender build
and slightly less intense colours) is the white colour of the male's appendages
and of the female's S10 and appendages.
The major identification features
- male: white anal appendages; mature male: pruinose abdomen with black
tip, pale bands on side of thorax
- female: white S10 & appendages
- black pterostigma
- dorsally pale over thorax and between wing roots
Orthetrum albistylum occurs from
central and south Europe to China and Japan. Its distribution is often
patchy but in many areas it is common. The species has recently spread
its range northwards to the Baltic Sea coast in Poland. It is widespread
and often common throughout its range and can also be found in man-made
habitats, therefore it is assessed by IUCN Red List as Least Concern.