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.
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.
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.
Many more male Powdered Dancer damselflies were spotted during a follow-up photowalk on 08 August 2016.
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 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. moesta male #2 (Powdered Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. moesta male #5 (Powdered Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. moesta female #1 (Powdered Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. moesta female #3 (Powdered Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. moesta female #4 (Powdered Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
- A. moesta female #5 (Powdered Dancer) [JPG] [digital scans]
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