Powdered Dancer (males, female)

Several Powdered Dancer damselflies (Argia moesta) were spotted during two photowalks along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park. Powdered Dancer is a new species on my life list of odonates.

Male

This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration. The common name “Powdered” seems to perfectly describe the appearance of males of this species.

A Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

04 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Powdered Dancer (male)

Female

The following individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration. Female Powdered Dancers are polymorphic: this is the tan morph; there is also a blue morph that looks somewhat similar to males of the same species.

A Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female (light brown morph).

04 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Powdered Dancer (female)

Also notice the female’s abdomen is thicker near the tip than the tip of the male’s abdomen, due to female egg-laying anatomy.

A Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female (light brown morph).

04 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Powdered Dancer (female)

More males

Many more male Powdered Dancer damselflies were spotted during a follow-up photowalk on 08 August 2016.

A Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Powdered Dancer (male)

A Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Powdered Dancer (male)

A Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Powdered 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 the genus Argia (Dancers) fits 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).

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 © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Powdered Dancer (males, female)”

  1. Life-list additions in 2016 | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Powdered Dancer (males, female), published on 23 August 2016. […]

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