Chalk-Fronted Corporal Dragonflies

2018 August 25

After spending some time in downtown Sudbury on June 21, 2018, we went back to the campground[1] for the night. It was on a lake, so after we pitched our tents we went down to the beach to see what we could see. And the place was loaded with these mostly powder-white dragonflies, who would sometimes perch long enough for pictures.



At first I thought that they were Common Whitetails like the ones that we have at home. But then I realized that they did not have spots on their wings, and their white coloration was not distributed the same way. On further investigation, they actually look like Chalk-Fronted Corporals, Ladona julia


As for why they are called “Corporals”, supposedly somebody thought that they had some markings somewhere that resembled the insignia that some army had used for corporals at some point, but if so I don’t know whose army, or when, or which markings they are referring to. The most prominent markings are the white marks on the shoulders between the head and wings, but personally I think those markings more closely resemble Captain’s Bars


Whoever the mysterious namer might have been, it’s hard to say where they thought the resemblance was. They might have been referring to the dark marks near the tips of the wings. In any case, the British, French, Canadian, and US armies have all, at one point or another, been active in the area where these dragonflies occur (and maybe the Spanish and Dutch armies, as far as that goes). They could have acquired that common name any time in the last 400 years or thereabouts. So, maybe I just haven’t found the right set of rank insignia from the right country for the right period of time yet.

[1] It was called “Carol’s Campsite”, and it was actually designed more for people with RVs and motor homes, although they let people like us set up tents and camp, too. It was a lot less expensive than a motel room, but really it was pretty much packed with RVs and wasn’t much of a wilderness experience. Completely unlike the Chutes provincial park campground the previous night, where we couldn’t even see any other campers from our site, and the only person we encountered was the ranger keeping an eye on the place.

A lot of the RVs looked like they had taken root and weren’t going anywhere. Some had decks and garages built onto them. There was also gated access, which I thought was a bit weird for a campsite.

One Response
  1. August 31, 2018

    Is the break in the back with the fuzzy part where the wings attach common in dragonflies?

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