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 Odonata, Suborder 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 – Broad-winged Damselflies
- Family Coenagrionidae – Narrow-winged Damselflies
- Family Lestidae – Spreadwings
Family Calopterygidae is comprised of two genera.
- 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.
- A. apicalis male #1 (Blue-fronted Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. apicalis male #2 (Blue-fronted Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. apicalis female #1 (Blue-fronted Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. apicalis female #2 (Blue-fronted Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- The Odonata of North America is a complete list of both scientific names and common names for damselflies and dragonflies, maintained by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas.
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.
Tags: Argia apicalis, Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly, Dancers (Argia), Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, male, Mulligan Pond, Pond Damsels Family, scientific classification, wetlands, wildlife photography