Blue-fronted Dancer damselflies (males)

Two Blue-fronted Dancer damselflies (Argia apicalis) were spotted during a photowalk around Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR). Both individuals are males.

A Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis) spotted at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

24 JUL 2015 | JMAWR | Blue-fronted Dancer (male)

This is the first time I have seen Blue-fronted Dancers in Virginia, although I have seen them in Maryland along the Little Patuxent River, Patuxent Research Refuge (North Tract).

A Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis) spotted at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

24 JUL 2015 | JMAWR | Blue-fronted Dancer (male)

Sidebar: Scientific Classification of Damselflies

The following concise explanation of the scientific classification of damselflies is provided to help the reader understand where Blue-fronted Dancers fit into the bigger picture of the Order OdonataSuborder Zygoptera (Damselflies).

There are five families of damselflies in the United States of America, although only three families occur in the mid-Atlantic USA: Broad-winged damselflies; Narrow-winged damselflies (a.k.a., Pond Damselflies); and Spreadwing damselflies.

Family Calopterygidae is comprised of two genera.

Family Coenagrionidae is comprised of 14 genera. Three genera are common in Northern Virginia: Argia (Dancers); Enallagma (American Bluets); and Ischnura (Forktails).

  • Argia (e.g., Blue-fronted Dancer, Blue-tipped Dancer, Variable Dancer)
  • Enallagma (e.g., Big Bluet, Familiar Bluet, Orange Bluet, Stream Bluet)
  • Ischnura (e.g., Eastern Forktail, Fragile Forktail, Rambur’s Forktail)

Family Lestidae is comprised of two genera.

  • Archilestes (e.g., Great Spreadwing)
  • Lestes (e.g., Slender Spreadwing, Southern Spreadwing, Swamp Spreadwing)

There are relatively few genera of Broad-winged Damselflies and Spreadwing Damselflies. In contrast, there are many more genera and species of Narrow-winged Damselflies — more species, including many that look similar, makes this family the most challenging to learn!

Editor’s Note: Please comment to let me know whether the preceding information is helpful.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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