Anyone exploring the grasslands and dry forests around Kamloops is familiar with the Hereford cattle that graze the area. Their distinctive white faces are hard to miss. But a closer look around pond edges or even in dry forest openings or grasslands will reveal much smaller creatures with white face. These are members of our local dragonfly fauna. There are two groups of smaller dragonflies that have white faces. The meadowhawk group in the Sympetrum genus has a single member known as the White-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum.) The other group in the genus Leucorrhinia are known as whitefaces of which there are 6 species in the province. They all have white faces but the males and females have different body colour patterns. Separating some to species can be tricky if you don’t have them in hand.
The species in the photograph is an immature female Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta.) She was flying in an upland meadow filled with grasses and flowering Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata.) There were no ponds close by but these dragonflies are good fliers and often move well away from wetlands. She looks similar to another common species known as the Hudsonian Whiteface (L. hudsonica,) but provincial expert Dr. Rob Cannings felt confident that my photo depicted L. intacta, even though he was unable to study some clinching features in hand.
Note the dark abdomen with brighter yellow markings on the dorsal surface with a wider one at the outer end. The yellowish suffusion at the base of the wings suggests that this is an immature female. Her brown eyes contrast with the white face.