Ladona deplanata

Blue Corporal

Ladona deplanata, Blue Corporal

Family: Libellulidae

Length: typically 33-37 mm

Synonym: Libellula deplanata


The range maps in Dragonflies Through Binoculars and Stokes Beginners Guide to Dragonflies both indicate that the Blue Corporal is not found in the Mountain State. I see them every season, however, and they have been included on the official state list for some time. A key to finding this species is to go out earlythe Blue Corporals are usually flying on warm days in April and May.

In the early days of the season you will see only the female coloration (shared by immature males), which is largely brown. On the tops of the thorax are two pale yellow stripes, the corporals stripes that give this species its common name. Along the top of the abdomen runs a line made up of triangular black spots. Another thing that helps set this species apart from others is its small size: no more than 36-37 mm.

Ladona deplanata, Blue Corporal male, face

After a couple of weeks of flight the males begin to get their mature coloration. This is an overall blue color, with the sides of the thorax darker. The males face is dark too.

Another characteristic to look for on both males and females are the dark bars at the bases of the wings. These are larger on the hind wings.

Older females began to cover with pruinescence (a waxy deposit), and thus take on a whitish or bluish color that obscures some of their markings.

This species often lands on the ground or perches on rocks. Blue Corporals may also be found perching vertically on tree trunks.

Females dip their abdomens in the water as they lay eggs in flight.

Look for Blue Corporals near ponds or small lakes in early Spring.

Ladona deplanata, Blue Corporal, female
The female and immature male Blue Corporals have overall brown coloration, with two pale yellow stripes on the top of the thorax. Along the abdomen are black triangular spots that form a line running the length of the abdomen.
Ladona deplanata, Blue Corporal, lateral view of throax
Above: The sides of the thorax on the female are an unmarked brown color. Those of the male are also largely unmarked, and darker in color.
Ladona deplanata, Blue Corporal
The face of the female is not as dark as the males. Note the two yellowish stripes on top of the thorax. These are the "corporals stripes" that give the genus its common name.

Insects of West Virginia