Damselflies (Zygoptera) of the Southwest




- UPDATED - Spring 2013 -
Dragonflies of California and the Greater Southwest
A Beginner's Guide

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DAMSELFLIES
of the Southwest


page #s in on-line guide below refer to the page # for the species in
Common Dragonflies of the Southwest
A Beginner's Pocket Guide

<-- by Kathy Biggs

Dragonflies of North America,
A Color and Learn Book
with Activities

Kathy Biggs and Tim Manolis
Click to

see more information about the book.

Published June 2007
For children, grandchildren & your inner child!

There is a Southwest Dragonfly Yahoo! discussion group: Click here to join it. SoWestOdes


Enter the on-line guide below
Click on image/word to be taken to that kind of Damselfly
page #s refer to page in Common Dragonflies of the Southwest and also in Dragonflies of California and Common Dragonflies of the Southwest

This site is 100% privately maintained. If you've found it helpful, a donation to help keep in on the web would be very much appreciated, thanks! K. Biggs


Sketch of a damselfly
showing the body parts ...pg. 90
by Barbara Chasteen

DAMSELFLIES - Zygoptera


Slender-bodied, generally smaller and more frail than dragonflies.
Most have an eyespot in back of each eye.
When perched, all four wings are usually held together alongside or sail-like over the abdomen.
Eyes set far apart on head, appear hammer headed.
Weak fliers, usually found not too far from water.
Males have a bump (genitalia) under their 2nd abdominal segment and four terminal abdominal appendages.
Females have a wide ovipositor on the underside at the end of their abdomen and only two terminal abdominal appendages.
Damselflies lay their eggs directly into vegetation.
The SW has 15 genera representing 4 of the 5 North American families:
1. Pond Damsels - Coenagrionidae
2. Shadowdamsels - Platysticidae
3. Spreadwings - Lestidae
4. Broad-winged Damsels - Calopterygidae

Directions: Click on the image that looks the most like the damselfly you want to learn more about, or just scroll down the page for the pond damsels, which are the most common.

Damselflies are arranged within family by predominant color within genus. Their are 2 pages of damselfly images.s

Use your back button to return to this page
Page 1








Pond Damsels (Coenagrionidae)
... ... ... ... ... Page 2

Spreadwings (Lestes)

These links take you to a new (2nd) page
---

Shadowdamsels (Platysticidae)

This link takes you to a new (2nd) page
---

Broadwinged Damsels (Calopterygidae)

These links take you to a new (2nd) page

Pond Damsels: Coenagrionidae


sizes: small to medium; lengths: 20 - 50 mm
males: usually blue and black, a few red, yellow or violet;
varying degrees of light and dark colors on abdomens;
clear wings held alongside or over the abdomen when perched, small stigmas
females: abdomen more cylindrical; most tan but some blue or grey/brown or peachy
habitats: quite variable, but usually still waters or quiet streams
behaviors: wings held closed when perched; low flying
10 SW genera, totaling 62 species:
1.
American Bluets, Enallagma: most are blue & black patterned; perch on vegetation; wings at rest are held alongside abdomen; tandem oviposit at still water sites
2. Eurasian Bluets, Coenagrion: similar to American Bluets, showing more black
3. Dancers, Argia: most are blue & black patterned, some are lavender & black, "dancing" flight; perch on ground and/or rocks with wings held closed above abdomen; tandem oviposit in moving waters; territorial wing clapping; long spines on legs
4. Painted Damsel, Hesperagrion: one species; red eyespots & 'tail'
5. Black & White Damsel, Apanisagrion: thin, long abdomen; coloring dark and pale; dense venation on lower margins of wings
6. Red Damsels, Amphiagrion: mostly red abdomen with black thorax; small but stocky
7. Firetails, Telebasis: red coloring; small & petite
8. Exclamation Damsel, Zoniagrion: one species; similar to forktails; 2 blue exclamation-like marks top of thorax
9. Forktails, Ischnura: mostly black; blue on thorax & near abdomen tip; perch on emergent vegetation; nontandem oviposit into floating vegetation; resting wing position variable
10.Sprites, Nehalennia: metallic green coloration; small & petite

Southwestern distribution maps are updated at least annually and are based on Western maps originally created by Dennis Paulson (pre-2007)


Photo by Bob Claypole


Bluets are arranged by similarity in markings.

photo of a Bluet swarm
Bluet wing position
female Bluet - non-malelike color form
female Bluet - malelike color form
GENUS: Enallagma The American Bluets - 16 SW species ...pg. 91

description: males are usually bright blue & black patterned; but a few in other states show yellow/orange;
very similar in appearance to Dancers but flight not `dance-like';
wings are held folded alongside the body, not sail-like over the back as in Dancers;
leg hairs not twice as long as space between them;
eyes quite black on top unlike dancers which are more often a dark blue color;
the black line on side of thorax often makes a 'jag' or 'elbow' near the head;
females: several color forms: usually tan or gray where male is blue; sometimes colored male-like but usually with much less blue;
have a vulvar spine on segment 8 which Dancers lack
behavior: fly low over the water & grasses along shore;
perch on vegetation with wings slightly drooping at abdomen side;
tandem oviposit at still water sites;
can form swarms over water while ovipositing
habitat: still water with abundant vegetation

Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
appendage close-up - CA
male - CO
male - NV
male - NV
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
Northern Bluet Enallagma annexum (formerly E. cyathigerum) ...pg. 92

size: medium, length 29 - 40 mm

male: third segment more than 50% blue; side stripe is undivided with a jag near the front; large blue eyespots; lower appendages longer than uppers. Identify to species by appendage shape using hand lens, see p.98 Com. Drag. of SW; a coastal NW form is darker than elsewhere

female: much less blue, or tan and black

similar species: nearly identical to Boreal Bluet; use appendage shape to differentiate

habitat: cool still or slow water

SW flight period: March 19 - November 7

SW distribution: all SW

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
males - CA
males - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
female - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
male - NV
multiple images male - UT
multiple images male - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - UT
Boreal Bluet Enallagma boreale...pg. 92

size: medium, length 29 - 40 mm

male: third segment more than 50% blue; side stripe is undivided with a jag near the front; large blue eyespots; lower appendages longer than uppers. Identify to species by appendages shape using hand lens, see p.98 Com. Drag. Of SW

female: much less blue, or tan and black

similar species: nearly identical to Northern Bluet; use appendage shape to differentiate

habitat: cool still or slow water

SW flight period: March 29 - October 10

SW distribution: all SW

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
pair - CA
male - CO
male - NM
multiple images male - UT
multiple images male - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
Alkali Bluet Enallagma clausum ...pg. 92


size: medium, length 29 - 40 mm

male: third segment more than 50% blue; side stripe is undivided with a jag near the front; large blue eyespots; lower appendages only a little longer than uppers. Alkali has thin side stripe; found alkali water. Identify by appendages shape using hand lens, see p.98 Com. Drag. Of the SW

female: much less blue, or tan and black

habitat: alkaline ponds and lakes

SW flight period: May 18 - September 12

SW distribution: all SW but AZ

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - Iowa
male - Iowa
info - north east
male & female - Iowa
multiple images -MN
male - MA
male - MT
male - Canada
male - Canada
Scans
male - SD
male - USA
Hagen's Bluet Enallagma hageni...pg. 155

size: small, length 26 - 33 mm

male: segments 3-8 more blue than black; 3rd segment more than 50% blue; segments 8 & 9 blue; thorax top stripe dark; upper appendages narrow with slightly upturned tip

female: pale areas blue or tan; no blue on tail

habitat: marshy lakes, ponds, slow streams

SW flight period: ~April - ~September

SW distribution: CO

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - ?
males - MT
male - MA
male - ID
male - Iowa
male & female - WA
multiple images - MN
pair in wheel - MA
male - WI
appendages & info
pair
multiple images
Scans
male
female
Marsh Bluet Enallagma ebrium...pg. 155

size: small, length 20 - 34 mm

male: small tear-shaped eyespots; segments 3-8 more blue than black; 3rd segment more than 50% blue; segments 8 & 9 blue; thorax top stripe dark; distinctly forked upper appendages with the forks are of about equal length

female: pale areas blue, green or tan; no blue on tail

habitat: vegetated lakeshores, ponds, marshes

SW flight period: June23 - August 24

SW distribution UT

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - AZ
male - CA
multiple images - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
males & females - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - NV
male - NV
pair in wheel - NV
multiple images teneral male - UT
multiple images pair in wheel - UT
Scans
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
male - NM
Familiar Bluet Enallagma civile...pg. 93

size: medium, length 28 - 39 mm

male: markings more blue than black, third segment more than 50% blue; top thorax stripe dark; small comma-shaped eyespots; top appendages longer than lowers, large and finlike with pale "button," appear splayed; see appendage illustrations, p.98 CDSW. Bluets fly low over water along shoreline.

female: like male or tan and black

similar species: Arroyo Bluet has 3rd seg. more black than blue and forked upper appendages,
Tule Bluet has 3rd seg. more black and a smaller pale 'button' on upper appendages;
comparison website

habitat: still waters with fields

SW flight period: all year in south

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
pairs+ - CA
multiple images - CA
male - NV
male - NV
multiple images male - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
River Bluet Enallagma anna...pg. 94

size: medium, length 29 - 36 mm

male: middle abdominal segments about half-blue from above; appendages slightly forked; uppers noticeably longer than lowers, with the top fork extending well beyond lower appendages and angled downward (without a pale button on end) - noticeable to the naked eye

female: pale areas blue or tan

habitat: slow streams, ditches

SW flight period: April 16 - October 16

SW distribution: all SW but AZ

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
female - AZ
male - AZ
male - CA
male - MX
male - MX
Scans
male - MX
Baja Bluet Enallagma eiseni NEW TO USA

size: medium, length 27 - 34 mm

male: distinctive - middle abdominal segments about equally blue and dark from above;
dark on abdominal segments forms spears which point towards the tail (other bluets' dark areas point towards head);
segments 8 - 10 blue;
large blue eyespots have a connecting blue line;
upper appendages noticeably longer than lowers, noticeable to the naked eye; from above have inward facing 'hooks;'
lower appendages held next to abdomen, appear to be 'missing'

female: pale areas blue or tan, of ten with greenish cast; patterning similar to male's

habitat: slow streams, pools of desert oases

SW flight period: June 17 - October 17

SW distribution: VERY RARE; AZ, CA - report & document all sightings

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images- AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NV
male in flight - NV
multiple images male - UT
multiple images young male - UT
multiple images teneral male - UT
multiple images female - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
pair - CA
Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum ...pg. 95

size: small/medium, length 26 - 37 mm

male: segments 3-7 more black than blue; 3rd segment more than 50% black; segments 8 & 9 blue; thorax top stripe wide & dark; large pale "button" tip of upper appendages. See p.98 Com. Drag. of SW for illustrations of Bluet appendages.

female: pale areas blue or tan; no blue on tail

similar species: Arroyo Bluet has forked upper appendages, Familiar Bluet has 3rd segment more blue;
comparison website

habitat: lakes, ponds, streams; especially with tules

SW flight period: January 7 - December 31

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
male - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CA
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
pair - NM
male - NV
male - NV
multiple images male - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
Arroyo Bluet Enallagma praevarum...pg. 95

size:small/medium, length 26 - 37 mm

male: segments 3-7 more black than blue with each segment usually 50% more dark than the preceding one; 3rd segment usually more than 50% black; segments 8 & 9 blue; thorax top stripe dark; forked upper appendages.
See p.98 for illustrations of Enallagma appendages.

female: pale areas blue or tan; no blue on tail

similar species: Tule Bluet has a pale 'button' on upper appendages, Familiar Bluet has 3rd seg. more blue than black;
comparison website

habitat: lakes, ponds, streams

SW flight period: February 20 - December 29

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website

Stream Bluet Enallagma exsulans

This species NOT found in Southwest. 2003 report of one in New Mexico not verified

Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
young male - CA
pair - CA
pair in cop - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
female - NM
male- NV
several - NV
males, pairs - NV
pair
male
nymph
Scans
male - AZ
female - AZ
male - LA
female - LA
male - KS
male - USA
Double-striped Bluet Enallagma basidens...pg. 96

size: tiny, length 21 - 28 mm

male: thin blue line middle of dark side stripes (doubled); thin blue line middle of top dark thoracic stripe; tiny blue eyespots connected by thin line; blue on segments 8-9, top only of segment 10; black appendages

female: like male but paler or tan; segment 10 all pale

habitat: ponds, lakes, ditches with grasses

SW flight period: March 28 - November 20

SW distribution: AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male & female - AZ/MX
male - AZ/MX
male
male - Sonora, MX
female - MX
multiple images - MX
Scans
Claw-tipped Bluet Enallagma semicirculare...pg. 158

size: small, length 28 - 33 mm

male: blue to mostly purplish or grayish blue; face violet or blue violet;
large blue-green wedge-shaped eyespots connected by a thin bar; thoracic shoulder stripe violet or gray-blue; pale areas on abdomen blue-violet or bluish; LONG upper appendages

female: like male

habitat: ponds or pools of slow streams

SW flight period: April 11 - November 8

SW distribution: AZ, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - TX
male - TX
multiple images - TX
multiple images - TX
Scans
male - TX
female
Neotropical Bluet Enallagma novaehispaniae NEW TO SW 11/2010

size: medium, length 29-35 mm (AZ specimen 33mm)

male: thorax violet or purplish blue on top, blue low on sides; large oval eyespots; long abdomen with segs 1-3 pale, 4-7 dark, with blue on top of most of seg.8 & all of seg. 9 (giving a more 'spotted' look than most bluets), dark on seg. 9 gives appearance of a dark ring; top appendages forked & extend considerably beyond lower appendages

female: like male or somewhat greenish

habitat: heavily vegetated streams

SW flight period: November 16-17 (year round in TX)

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
multiple images - TX
male - Iowa
male - OH
males & females - GA
male - VA
nymph
Scans
male - LA
male - LA
male - LA
male - LA
female - LA
Vesper Bluet Enallagma vesperum...pg. 158

size: medium, length 29 - 38 mm

male: mature's pale coloration yellow or yellow-orange, immature's pale blue or blue-gray; face bright orange; eyes brown above, yellow below; face yellow-orange; thoracic shoulder stripe yellow-orange; abdomen yellow-orange & black

female: like male but paler color usually dull yellow to yellow- green; eyes like males but pale green or yellow below; abdomen yellow below with tan, blue or blue-gray

habitat: small lakes and slow streams with abundant emergent vegetation

behavior: twilight species, known to oviposit after dark!

SW flight period: April 9 (April-November elsewhere)

SW distribution: CO

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - CO
male - CO
male & female - CO
pair in cop. - CO
pair in cop. - CO
male - Iowa
male & female - Iowa
male - WI
male - WY
male - TN
Scans
Rainbow Bluet Enallagma antennatum...pg. 96

size: small, length 21 - 33 mm

male: slender; orange, green and black coloration makes this species very Forktail-like; face bright orange; blue-green wedge shaped eyespots connected by a thin bar; thorax pale blue-green with orange shoulder stripe; abdominal segments 1-7 black above and yellow-green on sides and below; 1-3 & 8-10 blue

female: head like male but paler color usually yellow-green

habitat: slow streams or lakes near stream inlet or outlet, with abundant emergent vegetation but also gravel pits, ponds

SW flight period: June 5 - August 27

SW flight period: CO


Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - CO
male - CO
pair - CO
multiple images - TX
mulitple images - TX
male - KS
male - GA
pair - GA
nymph
Scans
male - LA
male - LA
male - LA
immature male - LA
female - LA
female - LA
female - LA
female - LA
Orange Bluet Enallagma signatum NEW SPECIES FOR SW 2004

size: small, length 21 - 33 mm

male: slender; orange color (where other bluets are blue) and black coloration makes this species very Forktail-like; face bright orange; thorax orange; abdominal segments 1-8 black above and yellow-green on sides and below; s10 orange; long upper appendages

female: like male but paler color usually yellow-green, s10 dark

habitat: lakes, ponds & slow streams

SW flight period: June 9 - August 30

SW distribution: CO

Southwestern distribution map
Sketches
Bluet appendage sketches
by Rosser Garrison
Bluet appendages Enallagma male appendages...pg. 98
Sometimes it is necessary to have a Bluet in hand and examine its terminal appendages using a hand lens to make a final identification. Side and 45% views:
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
pair - NM
pair - NM
male - UT
male - UT
male - UT
male
Scans
pair - CA
female - CA
males - CO
male - OR
pair - OR
Taiga Bluet Coenagrion resolutum...pg. 97

size: small, length 27 - 31 mm

male: mostly black above inc. segs 6&7: pale blue to turquoise markings; U-shaped mark atop seg.2;
green tinged thorax; top pale stripe can be interrupted;tear-shaped eyespots
middle abdomen segments mostly black, black markings on segment 2 are U-shaped

female: turquoise, tan, or green; very large eyespots

habitat: slow waters in northern mountains; prefers still, shaded water

SW flight period: May 22 - August 27

SW distribution: AZ, CA, CO, UT, *NM [*new 7-2008]

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website

Photo by Kathy Biggs

Dancerss are arranged by similarity in color and by markings.

image of 3 species in pairs ovipositing

pairs tandem ovipositing

GENUS: Argia The Dancers - 28 SW species

sizes: medium, lengths 23 - 50 mm
male: males: usually blue (or violet) & black;
perch with wings held well up and over back, sail-like;
leg hairs 2X as long as space between them;
4th leg joint has 2 rows stiff bristles;
eyes often a dark blue color but not black;
side stripe on thorax often pinched or split
females: 2 forms - most common is tan or gray where male is blue; other is like male;
no vulvar spine on segment 8
nymph: robust
behavior: flight `dance-like' (up & down); 'clap' wings when approached;
alight more frequently in open spaces on rocks &/or wood rather than on vegetation;
more likely at moving waters;
tandem oviposit with male in 'sentinel' position
eggs laid on surface mats of algae, floating vegetation or on wood

Photos
males - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images- AZ
pair - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - CA
female - CA
male - NM
male - NV
multiple images
Scans
male - AZ
male - CA
male - TX
female - TX
Aztec Dancer Argia nahuana...pg. 99

size: small/medium, length 23 - 37 mm

male: brilliant sky-blue; thorax shoulder stripe variably forked (lower stripe can be interrupted); blue "tail" segments 8-10; distance between lower appendages from above less than width of individual appendages;
inward pointing lope on appendages when viewed from above

female: less colorful, thicker bodied than male; one form like male; other is tan and black

similar species: VERY similar to California Dancer:
Aztec Dancer usually has a spot on segment 2 while the California Dancer has a stripe;
comparison information/images

habitat: open rivers and streams

SW flight period: March 3 - December 3

SW distribution: all SW

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
(new early flight data)
male, close-up thorax - CA
male, in hand - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
pair - CA
pair - OR
California Dancer Argia agrioides ...pg. 99

size: small/medium, length 23 - 37 mm

male: brilliant sky-blue; thorax shoulder stripe variably forked (lower stripe can be only interrupted); blue "tail" segments 8-10; distance between lower appendages from above greater than width of individual appendages
no inward pointing lobe on appendages when viewed from above
2nd segment with a stripe on side

female: less colorful, thicker bodied than male; one form like male; other is tan and black

similar species: VERY similar to Aztec Dancer:
California Dancer usually has a stripe on segment 2 while the Aztec has a spot;
comparison information/images

habitat: open rivers and streams

SW flight period: February 24 - December 2

SW distribution: AZ, CA, NV

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - TX
multiple images - TX
female
Scans
male - TX
female - TX
Leonora's Dancer Argia leonorae ...pg. 99

size: small/medium, length 28 - 32 mm

male: similar to CA and the larger Aztec Dancer; brilliant sky-blue; thorax shoulder stripe variably forked; clear wings; abdomen largely blue with each segment showing more black until blue "tail" segments 8- 10; lines strongly diagonal on abdomen sides; make ID using hand lens by viewing appendages

female: less colorful, thicker bodied than male; one form like male; other is tan and black

habitat: clear rocky streams in desert or even muddy -banked rivulets

SW flight period: May 27 - October 23

SW distribution: NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male with mites - CA
male, frontal close-up - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male & female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
pair (male colored female) - NV
tandem pair - NV
multiple images male - UT
multiple images female - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
scan odd pair - CA
Vivid Dancer Argia vivida...pg. 100

size: medium, length 29 - 41 mm

male: vivid blue & black markings; thorax top stripe has wide urn shape; side thoracic stripe pinched at mid-length; middle abdomen segment sides have small triangular black streaks; blue tip surrounds segments 8-10; when cool coloring becomes more violet; immatures - milky gray

female: tan/gray & black or male-like

habitat: seeps, streams; wanders

SW flight period: capable of flight whenever there is a prolonged warm spell

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
teneral male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male-colored female - AZ
male - CO
Scans
pair - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
Springwater Dancer Argia plana...pg. 101

size: medium, length 33 - 40 mm

male: like Vivid Dancer but more violet (AZ, western NM) or blue (eastern NM); differentiate from Vivid & also similar Apache Dancer by slightly wider, more rounded upper appendages (visible under hand lens); see p.114 Com. Drag. of SW;
Rare forked side stripe form occurs

female: like male or pale browns

similar species: Spine-tipped Dancer (Argia extranea)

habitat: canopied streams, seeps

SW flight period: March 18 - January 25

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
pair - AZ
multiple images- AZ
multiple images - MX
multiple images & info - AZ
Scans
male & female - MX
Yaqui Dancer Argia carlcooki NEW FOR USA 1998

size: medium, length 29- 32 mm

male: like Apache, Springwater, Spine-tipped, Tarascan, Sabino, Kiowa Dancers but very rare in US.
See Paulson, Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West p. 157-8.

female: like male or pale browns

habitat: slow streams, seeps

SW flight period: September 8

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males & female - AZ
pair - AZ
female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
male - MX
male - MX
pair - MX
Scans
male - AZ
female - MX
Spine-tipped Dancer Argia extranea ...pg. 157

size: medium, length 32 - 37 mm

male: bluish species; large eyespots; dark shoulder stripe has a downward projecting block near the front; black longitudinal stripe low on sides of blue "tail" segments 8-10; make ID using hand lens by viewing appendages &/or looking at side of segment 2 where there is a black 'saddle-shaped' mark See image at AZ Odes

female: marked like male but less colorful

similar species: Springwater and Apache Dancer

habitat: small to medium rocky &/or sandy streams, usually with a lot of emergent vegetation

SW flight period: April 2 - December 3

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - TX
multiple images - TX
Scans
multiple images - AZ
Apache Dancer Argia munda...pg. 101

size: medium, length 36 - 40 mm

male: thin top and side black stripes; conspicuous pale line on low on side of thorax; wider, more rounded upper appendages (visible under hand lens) than Vivid Dancer; see p.114 Co. Drag. of SW

similar species: Spine-tipped, Vivid and Springwater Dancers

female: like male or pale browns

habitat: canyon streams, even intermittent

SW flight period: May 9 - October 28

SW distribution: AZ, NM, NV, UT

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
Scans
male - AZ
female - AZ
Tarascan Dancer Argia tarascana...pg. 157

size: medium, length 33 - 39 mm

male: blue and black species with wide, split side stripe; large eyespots; abdominal segments 8-10 blue; differentiate by appendages using hand lens - see p.180 Paulson's Dragonflies & Damselflies of the West

female: like male or pale browns

habitat: streams, ditches

SW flight period: June 17- October 27

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair in cop - AZ
female
female
Scans
male - AZ
female - AZ
Sabino Dancer Argia sabino...pg. 157

size: medium, length 33 - 39 mm

male: similar to Tarascan Dancer blue, violet and black; split side stripe; large eyespots; abdominal segments 8-10 blue; differentiate by appendages using hand lens - see p.181 Paulson's Dragonflies & Damselflies of the West

female: like male or pale browns

habitat: streams with large boulders

SW flight period: May 16 - October 4

SW distribution: AZ - Sabino & Sycamore Canyons

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
female - AZ

Scans
pair - AZ
Pima Dancer Argia pima...pg. 157

size: medium, length 35 - 43 mm

male: similar to Sierra Madre Dancer; split side stripe; blue, violet and black species; clear wings with black venation; large eyespots; abdominal segment 1 pale with dark triangular mark on top; differentiate by appendages using hand lens - see p.181 Paulson's Dragonflies & Damselflies of the West

female: like male or tan with more black than male

habitat: small streams, often rocky, in wooded areas

SW flight period: July 15 - October 27

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
males - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
female
Scans
male - AZ
female - MX
Sierra Madre Dancer Argia lacrimans...pg. 157

size: medium, length 37 - 46 mm

male: blue and black species with clear wings; large eyespots; abdominal segments 8-10 blue; similar to Pima Dancer; differentiate by appendages using hand lens

female: like male or pale browns; segments 8 & 9 blue

habitat: small rocky steams in wooded areas

SW flight period: May 27 - November 1

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
appendages
male - MX
male - MX
female
Scans
male & female
Cerulean Dancer Argia anceps NEW SPECIES FOR USA - MARCH 2013

size: medium, length 37 - 41 mm

male: bright blue and black species with amber-tinted wings; large eyespots; All the abdominal segments are blue on the top; side stripe pinched but not forked; seg 2 has short dark stripe on the side, somewhat wider at the end. similar to Sierra Madre Dancer; differentiate by appendages using hand lens

female: like male or pale browns; segments 8 & 9 blue

similar species: comparison with very similar Sierra Madre Dancer Argia lacrimans

habitat: small rocky steams

SW flight period: March 28 - October 14

SW distribution: AZ (rare)

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ/MX
image - AZ/MX
Scans
male - MX
female -
Harkness's Dancer Argia harknessi ...pg. 157

size: 33 - 40 mm

male: blue and black patterned; side stripe pinched, not split

female: like male or browner

habitat: large rivers, with or without strong currents, cutting through thorn-scrub and thorn-forest.

SW flight period: June 5

SW distribution: southeastern AZ, very rare

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male & female - CO
pair - CO
pair - CO
pair in cop - CO
male - NV
female, close-up of thorax - CA
multiple images - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images female - UT
Scans
male side - CA
male top - CA
male - CA
pair - CA
female - CA
female - CA
Emma's Dancer Argia emma...pg. 102

size: medium, length 32 - 40 mm

male: purplish species; occurs further north than Tonto; thoracic side stripe pinched at middle; black stripe top of thorax unique - very narrow & straight; abdomen lavender and black with no side triangles, short black vertical stripes sides of segments 8 & 9; pale stigma; see appendage chart below (p.114)

female: male-like or yellowish tan; top thoracic stripe very thin

habitat: rocky streams, rivers

SW flight period: March 10 - October 9

SW distribution: CA, CO, NV, UT

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female, close-up thorax - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
Scans
female - AZ
pair - AZ
Tonto Dancer Argia tonto...pg. 103

size: medium, length 39 - 44 mm

male: violet or purple species; narrow top thoracic stripe; large eyespots; back of head pale; dark shoulder stripe pinched, not forked, lower end abruptly wider than upper end; abdomen with no dark side streaks on sides; tail-tip violet; range is south of Emma's Dancer's; appendages p. 114

female: like male, color usually tan; top stripe a bit wider

similar species: Tezpi Dancer ( Argia tezpi), Sooty Dancer (Argia lugens), and Dusky Dancer (Argia translata)

habitat: wooded mountain streams

SW flight period: May 14 - October 30

SW distribution: AZ, southwestern NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - NM
pair - NM
male - NM
appendages - NM
male - NM
male - NJ
male
female
female
nymph
Scans
pair - TX
male - SD
male - LA
Violet [formerly Variable] Dancer Argia fumipennis violacea...pg. 104

size: medium, length 29 - 34 mm

male: violet when mature; thoracic shoulder stripe forked; top stripe wide & straight; lower half of thorax without contrasting white; "tail" is violet with black under 8-10; in SW slightly smoky wings; prefers slow moving areas of streams

female: like male but light brown or tan with wide black stripe on abdomen side

similar species: Lavender Dancer: abdominal segment 8 is blue, thus does not contrast in color with segment 9. Segments 8 and 9 have short, rather thin lateral black stripes

habitat: slow streams, ponds

SW flight period: April 4 - November 4

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
immature male - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - NM
male - NM
multiple images - NM
Scans
pair - AZ
Lavender Dancer Argia hinei...pg. 105

size: small/medium length 30 - 35 mm

male: violet when mature; thoracic shoulder stripe forked; frontal stripe wide; mature males show lower half of thorax pruinose white; segment 8-10 form contrasting blue "tail" with black under 8 & 9 only; prefers shallow rocky stream areas

female: light brown; abdomen & thorax patterning similar to male; dark intrusions on pale tail tip

similar species: Emma's Dancer's side stipe not forked; Variable Dancer segment 8 is violet

habitat: streams (even ephemeral)

SW flight period: March 28 - November 20

SW distribution: all southwestern states

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ/MN
female - AZ
female - AZ
male - NM
male - NM
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
female - NV
pair - NV
Scans
female - TX
male & female - TX
Kiowa Dancer Argia immunda ...pg. 106

size: small/medium, length 26 - 38 mm

male: blue or blue violet & black; pale thoracic side stripe wide and irregular in shape; dark side stripe forked; large eyespots; abdominal segments 3-6 unique with thin pale basal ring & then 3 alternating black-pale- black markings each of approximately the same width; wings clear, dark veins

female: tan where male is blue

habitat: streams & rivers, lakes

SW flight period: February - December 26

SW distribution: AZ, CA (historic), CO, NM, NV

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - CA
male, close-up of thorax - CA
males - CA
male - CA (new early flight data)
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
multiple images - CO
female - NM
female - NM
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
immature male - CA
male appendages - CA
male appendages - CA
female - CA
female - NV
Paiute Dancer Argia alberta...pg. 107

size: small/medium, length 26 - 32 mm

male: small, dark for a dancer; dark thoracic shoulder stripe prominent and forked; small eye-spots; wings clear, dark veins; abdomen mostly dark with contrasting blue or grayish purple rings that don't close at the top, middle segments black on top; immatures colored more violet

female: blue or light brown, both with noticable black pointed stripes near top side of abdomen

SW flight period: February 21 - December 15

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female, close-up of thorax - AZ
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
Scans
male - AZ
male - AZ
female - AZ
Amethyst Dancer Argia pallens...pg. 108

size: medium, length 32 - 35 mm

male: almost all violet & very pale, even eyes, legs & tops of segs 8-10; top thoracic stripe thin & narrow, dark side stripe very thin and pinched at middle; prothorax ("neck") violet; pale stigma; no triangles down side of abdomen; segment 7 pale, not black

female: like male or brown where male is violet

habitat: small streams

SW flight period: January 19 - December 17

SW distribution: AZ, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
young male - AZ
young male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pairs - AZ
female - AZ
pairs - MX
male - NM
male
female
female
Scans
male - TX
female - TX
Dusky Dancer Argia translata ...pg. 109

size: medium, length 32 - 38 mm

male: dark gunmetal blue coloration; dark side stripe can disappear with age; abdomen very thin and dark with 4 narrow pale rings; no blue "tail"; top of eyes purple; wings clear or slightly smoky; lower thorax becomes dark pruinose; black legs

female: like male or tan; segments 8-10 pale side stripe

similar species: Tonto Dancer (Argia tonto), Sooty Dancer (Argia lugens) and Tezpi Dancer (Argia tezpi) are similar:
comparison images/info

habitat: open streams, rivers

SW flight period: April 10 - December 5

SW distribution: AZ, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - TX
male - TX
multiple images - NC
multiple images - WV
male - IA
pair - IL
multiple images
male
female - OH
nymph
Scans
male - LA
male - LA
male - LA
female - LA
female - LA
female - LA
female - LA
Blue-tipped Dancer Argia tibialis ...not in book

size: medium, length 30 - 38 mm

male: dark and boldly marked body; lacking noticable eyespots; thorax dark violet top, with white on sides; abdomen black with very narrow pale rings, blue ONLY on segs 9 &10

female: two forms: one is brown, other shows bright blue on thorax and face; thorax with split side stripe

habitat: small wooded sandy streams

SW flight period: June 25, 2010

SW distribution: CO

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
Scans
pair - MX
Tezpi Dancer Argia tezpi ...pg. 109

size: medium, length 34 - 42 mm

male: even darker than Dusky Dancer; head dark except for pale eyespots; thorax with somewhat metallic violet top stripe; wings golden; segments 1-7 black above, sometimes with greenish reflections, 3-7 have incomplete rings, 8-10 variable

female: like male

similar species: Tonto Dancer ( Argia tonto), Sooty Dancer (Argia lugens), Dusky Dancer (Argia translata)

habitat: streams

SW flight period: May 8 - November 8

SW distribution: AZ, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
female (blue) - AZ
male - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male-colored female - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
pair - NM
Scans
male - CA
young male - CA
male & female - CA
female (brown) - CA
female (blue) - CA
Sooty Dancer Argia lugens...pg. 110

size: medium large, length 40 - 50 mm

male: large for a damselfly; unlike most Dancers, no blue near abdomen tip; thorax develops dark sooty blue pruinosity; noticeable pale ring around each segment; dark eyes; dark wing veins can become slightly smoky; perches on rocks; immature patterned brown like female

female: thorax patterned blue or brown; pale rings abdomen

similar species: compare to Tonto Dancer (Argia tonto), Dusky Dancer (Argia translata) and Tezpi Dancer (Argia tezpi)

habitat: rocky streams, rivers

SW flight period: April 8 - November 10

SW distribution: AZ, CA, CO, NM, UT

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
young male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
female - NM
male - NV
male - NV
young male - NV
female - NV
teneral female - NV
pair - NV
female & male - UT
female - UT
nymph
Scans
pair - CA
female - CA
Powdered Dancer Argia moesta...pg. 111

size: medium, length 37 - 43 mm

male: large for a damselfly; develops chalky/powdery white/gray pruinosity with age, especially thorax; abdomen turns pale gray on segments 8- 10; compare immature males and females with Blue-fronted Dancer

female: pale blue or light brown thorax; older females sometimes become a bit pruinose

habitat: rocky rivers, windy lakes

SW flight period: March 12 - December 26

SW distribution: all SW states

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female, close-up thorax - AZ
male - CO
male - NM
male - TX
male - TX
male & female - TX
male
male
nymph
Scans
male - TX
male - TX
male - TX
female - TX
female - TX
Blue-fronted Dancer Argia apicalis...pg. 112

size: medium, length 33 - 40 mm

male: bright blue thorax, top and shoulder stripes very thin; blue face; clear wings; black abdomen, segments 8-10 blue; small brown stigma; dark eyes, tiny eyespots; compare to similar immature Powdered Dancer

female: same markings; can be colored male-like or rusty brown

habitat: muddy rivers & lakes

SW flight period: March 12 - October 23

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
male - CA
males & females - CA
multiple images - CA
female - CA
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
female - NV
female - NV
female - NV
tandem pair - NV
nymph
Scans
male - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
Blue-ringed Dancer Argia sedula...pg. 113

size: medium, length 29 - 34 mm

male: black abdomen has narrow blue rings separating sections; blue "tail" 8-10 on top side only; thorax has wide dark side and top stripe; wings dark veined, amber tinged

female: always paler than male, showing olive-tan wherever male is blue; wings amber-tinged

habitat: sunny sections of small/medium rivers

SW flight period: February 10 - December 31

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair - NM
pair - NM
multiple images - TX
male - Niagara
pair- C.Rica
Scans
male - AZ
pair - MX
Fiery-eyed Dancer Argia oenea...pg. 116

size: medium, length 33 - 39 mm

male: upper eyes bright red, blue wash back of the eye; coppery orange face; top of thorax dark metallic coppery red; abdomen segments 3-6 violet (or blue) above with blue (or violet) "tail" segments 8-10; dark legs; clear wings

female: like male or brown; no red; pale "island" in midst of dark side stripe

habitat: streams and rivers

SW flight period: April 18 - December 13

SW distribution: AZ, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Sketches
Dancer appendage sketches
by Rosser Garrison
Dancer appendages Argia male appendages...pg. 114 & 115
sometimes it is necessary to have a Dancer in hand and examine its terminal appendages using a 10X+ hand lens to make a final identification. Dorsal and lateral views
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
males - AZ
immature male - AZ
immature male - AZ
immature male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
teneral - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
young female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
pair in cop - AZ
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
female - NM
female - NM
pair in cop - NM
Scans
male - NM
young female - NM
Painted Damsel Hesperagrion heterodoxum...pg. 117

size: medium, length 27 - 35 mm

male: red eye spots; red top segments 8-10; yellow under segments 1-7; 4 blue marks thorax top, sides blue, yellow brown in immature; like no other Southwestern damselfly; coloration variable by age - immature all orange

female: blue tail only top segment 7; thorax top -blue triangles; similar to Plain's & Pacific Forktails

habitat: creeks and streams

SW flight period: March 4 - December 9

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
immature male - AZ
female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple imges - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
female
male - MX
male
Scans
Black-and-White Damsel Apanisagrion lais...pg. 157

size: medium, length 32 - 37 mm (needs further determination)

male: immatures largely orange and similar in appearance to a Firetail or immature female Forktail; matures become very dark with yellow-green marking; segments 1-7 greenish to tan underside and almost entirely black or dark brown; segments 8-10 all dark but may become pruinose on top, especially on 8 & 9; unique dense venation on lower margins of wings

female: very similar to male

habitat: slow streams in woodland with grasses &/or watercress

SW flight period: April 13 - November 20

SW distribution: AZ

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
pair in wheel - CA
pair in wheel - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
female - CO
female - CO
male - NM
male - NM
pair - NV
multiple images male - UT
female - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
male - OR
Western Red Damsel Amphiagrion abbreviatum...pg. 118

size: very small, length 23 - 28 mm

male: stocky; hairy black head and thorax, brown eyes, black on top; bright red abdomen barely extends beyond wings; black top and/or sides segments 7-10; dark legs

female: stout; pale peach to reddish; thorax tawny; rare dark pruinose form exists

habitat: mountain lakes, marshes, slow streams

SW flight period: April 12 - October 24

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
males, pairs- AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
pair - AZ
pairs - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
pair - NM
male - NV
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
males - CA
Desert Firetail Telebasis salva...pg.119

size: very small, length 23 - 29 mm

male: dainty and slender; all red abdomen extends well beyond wing tips; red face and eyes; black eye spots; thorax red with black; red legs; tip of abdomen without black

female: some black thorax top; eggs laid in algae mats

habitat: shallow waters with algae scum; lowlands (not just in deserts)

SW flight period: March 19 - December18

SW distribution: all SW, except CO

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website


Photo by Ray Bruun

Forktails are arranged by similarity in markings.

nymph
GENUS: Forktails - Ischnura - 11 SW species ...pages 120-128

sizes: small, lengths 20 - 35 mm
description: most are black, with less blue on abdomen than others Pond Damsels;
most appear black with blue showing only on thorax and end of `tail'
males: black with colored markings on thorax;
most have blue markings near end of abdomen;
a few species show yellow or red markings on thorax or abdomen
females: some similar to males, some not;
coloration and markings differ markedly from teneral to adult stages, many show orange when immature;
some become pruinose black or light gray
nymph: small, fragile; green or pale brown
behavior: females oviposit unescorted into floating vegetation;
may only want to mate once; bend 'tail' down to signal male that she is not receptive;
eggs laid in stems & leaves of aquatic plants;
perch on emergent vegetation
habitat: still water with abundant vegetation

Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
female - AZ
young female - AZ
young female - AZ
young female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
males & females - AZ & CA
male - CA
males - CA
female - CA
multiple images - CA
dispersal/migratory event - CA
male - NM
male - NV
female - NV
female eating - NV
female, male colored - NV
pair - NV
nymph
Scans
male - AZ
male - CA
male-colored female - CA
male - USA
Rambur's Forktail Ischnura ramburii...pg. 120

size: medium, length 27 - 36 mm

male: green-blue shoulder stripe very thin, parallel sided; tiny circular eyespots; thorax and segments 1-3 greenish-blue; yellowish-orange underside only of segments 3-7; blue surrounds segment 8, part of 9, not top of 10; lower appendages point straight out

female: male-like or Day-Glo red/orange turning tan/olive; wide black stripe thorax top

similar species: Desert Forktail has thicker stripes atop thorax and teardrop-shaped eyespots:
comparison Rambur's & Desert males
comparison images/info
comparative scan Rambur's/Desert
comparative scan Rambur's/Desert

habitat: pond/lake/slow streams

SW flight period: all year in the south

SW distribution: AZ, CA, NM, NV

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
pair - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
males & females- CA
multiple images - CA
male - NM
male - NM
pair - NM
pair - NM
male - NV
male - NV
male - NV
male-colored female - NV
male-colored female - NV
male-colored females ovipositing - NV
pair - NV
multiple images male - UT
multiple images female - UT
Scans
pair - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male & female - CA
pair - CA
male - NM
Desert Forktail Ischnura barberi...pg. 121

size: medium, length 27 - 35 mm

male: pale shoulder stripe thicker than Rambur's, widest near eyes; large tear-shaped eyespots connected by a line; pale orange on mid segments curves partly up & over the abdomen leaving the dark areas on top appearing dart shaped; blue surrounds all of segments 8 & 9; lower appendages point upward

female: like male or pale tan-orange; narrow top stripe

similar species: Rambur's Forktail has thinner stripes atop thorax and circular eyespots:
comparison Rambur's & Desert males
comparison images/info
comparative scan Rambur's/Desert
comparative scan Rambur's/Desert

habitat: pond/lakes/slow streams

SW flight period: March 1 - November 19

SW distribution: all Southwestern states (rare CO)

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
multiple images - AZ
mature female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - CA
male - CA
female - CA
young female - CA
pair in wheel - CA
pair in wheel - CA
male - CO
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male & female - NM
mature female - NM
nymph
Scans
male - CA
female - CA
male - USA
Citrine Forktail Ischnura hastata...pg. 122

size: very small, length 20 - 27 mm (smallest Ode in North America)

male: abdomen (even tip) mostly yellow above & below with some black; thoracic stripes green; forewing - pale reddish-brown stigma that is NOT touching the leading edge; hind wing has (usual) dark stigma; noticable fork atop seg. 10

female: immature orange & black with segments 1-4 mostly orange; mature - pale pruinose with black stripe atop thorax

similar species: the mature pruinose female is similar to the pruinose Western & Mexican Forktails;
the immature female is similar to the immature female Mexican & Wesertn Forktails;
see comparison images/info

habitat: marshes/ponds/streams

SW flight period: all year in the south

SW distribution: AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
mature female - CA
mature female - CA
male-colored female - CA
immature female - CA
immature female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - NV
mature female - NV
immature female - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
immature female - CA
Western Forktail Ischnura perparva ...pg. 123

size: small, length 21 - 33 mm

male: thorax sides & top - blue-green stripes; noticeable fine pale rings across each dark abdomen segment; blue tip has dark intrusions on sides

female: immature orange & black with segments 1-3 mostly orange; becomes pale pruinose at maturity

habitat: weedy ponds, creeks

behavior: females solo oviposit; only mate once, then curl their 'tail' down to signal to approaching males that they are not interested in sex!

SW flight period: March 1 - November 6

SW distribution: AZ, CA, NV

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
female - AZ
immature female - AZ
mature female - AZ
mature female - AZ
mature female - AZ
mature female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple SW images
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
mature female - NM
immature female - NM
Scans
male - AZ
female - AZ
Mexican Forktail Ischnura demorsa...pg. 123

size: small, length 21 - 33 mm

male: thorax sides & top - blue-green stripes; noticeable fine pale rings across each dark abdomen segment; blue tip has dark intrusions on sides; dual 'forks' atop seg. 10 - pale tipped

female: immature orange & black with segments 1-3 mostly orange; becomes pale pruinose

similar species: both Eastern and Western Forktail males are similar; compare by appendages
female is similar to Eastern, Western and Citrine Forktails

habitat: weedy ponds, creeks

SW flight period: February 2 - December2

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM, NV, UT

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - CO
male - CO
immature female - CO
male-colored female - CO
male - NE
male
male
male & female - Iowa
male
info - north east
multiple images - MN>/A>
male - WI
mature female
immature female
Scans
male & female - SD
male USA
female USA
Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis ...pg. 123

size: small, length 21 - 33 mm

male: thorax sides & top - blue-green stripes; noticeable fine pale rings across each dark abdomen segment; blue tip has dark intrusions differentiate from Western and Mexican by appendages

female: immature orange & black with segments 1-3 mostly orange; becomes pale pruinose

habitat: weedy ponds, creeks

SW flight period: May 2 - October 20

SW distribution: CO, NM

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
males - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
immature female - CA
immature female - CA
male-colored female - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
mature female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
male - NV
mature female - NV
multiple images - NV
multiple images male - UT
multiple images immature female - UT
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male-colored female - CA
male - CO
Pacific Forktail Ischnura cervula...pg. 124

size: small, length 22 - 34 mm

male: abdomen black with blue "tail" markings that touch top & bottom; black thorax top - 4 tiny blue spots, 1 each "corner"; thorax sides blue; upright 'fork' at top end of tail; use appendages chart p.126 Com. Drag. of SW

female: stripes on top of thorax; shows pinkish-orange eyespot color as immature; becomes all dark pruinose when mature; pale stigma; long hairs extend from prothorax toward the midline; abdomen tip pattern - 2 narrow blue rings bracketing segment 8; male-like form has larger dots atop thorax than males do

similiar species: Plains Forktail has less of a 'fork' atop segment 10

habitat: weedy ponds & creeks

SW flight period: all year in south

SW distribution: all SW

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
multiple images - AZ
female, immature - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male - CO
male & female - CO
immature female & female - CO
pair - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male - NM
male & female- NM
mature female - NM
immature female - NM
male - UT
Scans
males & females - SD
Plains Forktail Ischnura damula...pg. 124

size: small, length 22 - 34 mm

male: abdomen black with blue "tail" markings that touch top & bottom; black thorax top - 4 tiny blue spots, 1 each "corner"; thorax sides blue; 'fork' top end of tail small; use appendages chart p.126

female: stripes top of thorax; shows pinkish-orange eyespot color as immature; becomes all dark pruinose when mature; 2 elevated projections on top of the prothorax; Pacific Forktails have long hairs extending back from the prothorax toward the midline, Plains Forktail lacks them; pale stigma; male-like form has larger dots

similiar species: Pacific Forktail has a more extensive 'fork' atop segment 10

habitat: weedy ponds & creeks

SW flight period: February 9 - October 29

SW distribution: AZ, CO, NM, UT

Southwestern distribution map
Photos
male - AZ
male - AZ
female - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
multiple images - AZ
male - CA
male - CA
males & females - CA
female - CA
multiple images - CA
young male - CA
multiple images - CA
male - CO
male - NM
male - NM
male - NV
female - NV
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
male & females - CA
male & female - NV
Black-fronted Forktail Ischnura denticollis...pg. 125

size: very small, length 22 - 26 mm

male: no stripes or dots top of thorax; all dark above, sides of thorax blue (green in immature); blue patches on top & bottom segments 8-9 do not touch; chartreuse underside; stigma has white margin at rear; frail; top appendages bent down. SF Forktail, rare, CA's Bay Area, lower appendages not as hooked/noticeable

similar species: the very rare San Francisco Forktail is the 'twin' to the Black Fronted, but has differently shaped appendages; lacks the white margin at the rear of the stigma: all 'Black-fronted' type forktails in the Bay Area that appear to not have this stigma should be examined in hand. The two species have been known to hybridize.

female: immature - pale coral; mature green/blue thorax sides

habitat: lakes, ponds, seeps

SW flight period: all year in south

SW distribution: all Southwest

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
mature female - CA
immature female - CA
pair in tandem - CA
pair in tandem - CA
pair in wheel - CA
multiple images - CA
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
San Francisco Forktail Ischnura gemina...pg. 125

size: small, length 24 - 28 mm; wingspan ~28 mm

male: thorax top and abdomen dark; blue spots on segments 8 and 9; underside chartreuse; appendages up-pointing

female: cryptic brown, reddish, or male-like

similar species: very similar to Black-fronted Forktail, hence the Latin name `gemina' for twin; SF Forktail is slightly more robust; compare the two by appendages; SF Forktail lacks white margin at rear of stigma; eye spots back of head are more circular in shape than Western's, Mexican's, Eastern's or Pacific's

SW habitat: weedy ditches; often near salt water

SW flight period: March 8 - November 6

SW distribution: CA endemic; S.F. Bay Area; Santa Cruz (historical); rare: PLEASE REPORT ALL SIGHTINGS

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
pair - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
female - CA
male & female - CA
male & female - WA
Swift Forktail Ischnura erratica...pg. 158 & inside back cover dust jacket

size: medium, 29 - 34 mm

male: blue stripes on top of thorax with black in center; larger than most other forktails with bolder markings; yellow under abdomen with thin yellow rings; blue on thorax sides is similar in shape to blue on sides of Bluets; blue on sides has a dark line coming in from the back at mid-height; dark abdomen has blue spots top of segments # 8 - 9; lower appendages are much longer than uppers; long enough to see thru binoculars; stigma bi-colored

female: abdomen top all dark, with dark green thorax sides, eye spots, and thoracic side stripes; or colored like male;

similar species: larger than other similarly dark Forktail species; continuous blue side stripe, not the !! of the similarly sized Exclamation Damsel; Western Forktails are much smaller and have a much more prominent blue line between the post-ocular eye spots; use appendages to differentiate

SW habitat: ponds and creeks

SW flight period: February 24 - September 17

SW distribution CA

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Sketches
forktail appendage sketches
by Natalia von Ellenrieder

Scan
scan of a forktail nymph
Forktail Ischnura male appendages and nymph scan...pg. 126
Examine forktail appendages in hand using a hand lens and terminal appendages illustrations to make a final identification
Photos
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male's appendages - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
female - CA
brown form female - CA
brown form female - CA
brown form female - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
multiple images - CA
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
female - CA
Exclamation Damsel Zoniagrion exclamationis...pg. 158 & back cover dust jacket

size: medium; length 30 - 35 mm

male: slender; blue & black; thorax top dark with a pair of turquoise !!; blue top of segments 1&2, 7-9 only

female: similar but blue on end of abdomen is only on segments 7 and 8; !! marks on top of thorax may be merged;
irregularly shaped eyespots, inner end points towards center & the outer end points forward

similar species: larger than most similarly dark Forktail Ischnura species; Swift Forktail has continuous blue thoracic stripe, not !! -
Use appendages to help differentiate

behavior: often rests with wings held slightly open; eggs laid in leaf blades & stems

habitat: permanent pools of mud-banked streams

SW flight period: March 19 - September 8

SW distribution: CA endemic; northern coastal and central valley counties

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website
Photos
male - CA
multiple images- CA
pair - CA
male & female - MN
male - OR
male - OR
multiple images - MN
male
Scans
pair - CA
pair - OR
pair - OR
male - WV
female - WV
female - USA
Sedge Sprite Nehalennia irene ...pg. 158 & inside back cover dust jacket

size: small, length 25 - 30 mm

male: mostly dark with green; top of thorax and abdomen metallic green; middle segments at least 50% black from above; thorax top entirely metallic green, sides blue; abdomen blue in male, green for females; black areas whole length of abdomen; black spot rear of 2nd abdominal segment

SW habitat: slow waters: sedge marshes/bogs/lakes/ponds/streams/rivers

female: very similar to male

SW flight period: June 13 - August 25

SW distribution: northern CA

Southwestern distribution map

Information on California Odonata website

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I'm glad you enjoy the dragonflies and damselflies too! THANK-YOU for visiting!!

Kathy Biggs, Azalea Creek Publishing Email Kathy Biggs