Leucorrhinia – Whitefaces
125. Small Whiteface – White-faced Darter – Leucorrhinia dubia – UK – European Dragonfly photo
The Small Whiteface, White-faced Darter ( Leucorrhinia dubia ) is a species of national importance in the U.K. with declining numbers due to habitat loss and probable climate change. Sadly this used to be the flagship species for my county of Cheshire but it became extinct although a re-introduction programme over the past few years may prove successful with emergence being observed at the translocation site since 2013. It is the smallest of the Whiteface family and may still to be seen as far south in the UK as the excellently managed reserve at Whixall Moss.
The last two photographs of females show them in typical pose higher up in bushes where they often fly when disturbed. The last image, of an emerging ‘White-faced Darter’ as it was known at the time when I photographed it in Cheshire many years ago, is a particular favourite of mine.
KEY I/D FEATURES :
Males, when immature, have a black thorax with yellow antehumeral stripes and black abdomens with yellow spots. With maturity the yellow markings change to brick red and one in transition is shown in the fourth photograph. The face as its name implies is white and the short pterostigma are browny black.
Female colouration is similar to the immature male but the abdomen is somewhat thicker.