One of the largest and most easily recognized dragonflies that we see here in Minnesota is the twelve-spotted skimmer. The twelve-spot is named for the series of spots that are seen on the wings. Each wing has three spots making for a total of twelve spots for all four wings.
While the male twelve-spotted is unmistakable the female pictured here looks similar to the female common whitetail. They are both similar in color and have twelve wing spots. The way to distinguish between the two is to look at the yellow top spots that run across the top of the abdomen. In the twelve-spot the top spots form a smooth straight line while on the common whitetail female the top spots form a jagged zigzag line. Since the top spots on the dragons in these pictures form a straight line we know that this is a twelve-spotted skimmer.