Leucorrhinia glacialis

Crimson-Ringed Whiteface

Leucorrhinia glacialis, Crimson-Ringed Whiteface male

Family: Libellulidae

Length: typically 33-37 mm


Like the Hudsonian Whiteface, the Crimson-Ringed is a species more often found far to the north: as far north as Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, and Labrador. Also like the Hudsonian Whiteface, the Crimson-Ringed Whiteface makes it as far south as central Pennsylvania, then is found again in one little pocket of Appalachian highlands to the South. In the case of the Crimson-Ringed Whiteface, this little pocket consists of highland bogs in Tucker County, West Virginia, and in Garrett County, Maryland.

The mature male Crimson-Ringed Whiteface has a mostly black body, with some red on the thorax. The base of the abdomen is ringed with red. The face is, of course, white, and the eyes are dark.


Crimson-Ringed Whiteface, Leucorrhinia glacialis photographFemales are similar, but have yellow markings instead of red. Unlike the males, females have yellow spots on top of the abdomen, specifically, on segments one to seven. As the females age the yellow spots get lighteror in a few cases may turn to red. Eyes are brown to dark brown and the face is white.

Immature males have a yellow thorax and base of the abdomen, but like the mature males they do lack spots on the abdomen.

Pilon et al. (1989) experimented with the eggs of Leucorrhinia glacialis under laboratory conditions. They found 0% mortality of the eggs if the water temperature was 22.5° to 27.5° Celsius. On the other hand, egg mortality was 100% at water tempteratures of 15.0° and colder. In the 22.5° to 27.5° Celsius range, eggs took 9.5 to 22 days to hatch. Development could be accelerated by warmer water temperatures (to 7.2 days at 32.5°, for example), but in that warmer water the egg mortality rose to 18.7%.

This species sometimes perches on low shrubs, but is more often seen perching on moss or the leaves of water plants. Mating, too, often occurs at ground level.

Crimson-Ringed Whiteface, Leucorrhinia glacialis, photograph of immature male
Females and immature males have yellow markings instead of red. Immature males are yellow at the base of the abdomen, but the rest of the abdomen is black (as shown). Females are similar, but have yellow spots on the abdomen. On older females the spots may fadeor even, confusingly, turn red.

Insects of West Virginia