Rambur’s Forktail damselfly (female)

A Rambur’s Forktail damselfly (Ischnura ramburii) was spotted at Mason Neck West Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature heteromorph female, as indicated by the reddish-orange coloration of her thorax and abdominal segments one and two (S1-2), and reddish-orange postocular spots; her coloration will become duller as she matures. Andromorph females are colored like males.

A Rambur's Forktail damselfly (Ischnura ramburii) spotted at Mason Neck West Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature heteromorph female.

03 OCT 2016 | Mason Neck West Park | Rambur’s Forktail (female)

This sighting was another reminder of one of many Walterisms: Don’t be dismissive! Huh? Male Rambur’s Forktail damselflies look similar to male Eastern Forktail damselflies (Ischnura verticalis). Eastern Forktails are relatively common, especially during spring and early-summer. Common. That’s the key word. When I noticed several male Rambur’s Forktails at the water retention pond I thought, “Oh, Eastern Forktails. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.” Fortunately I spotted the immature heteromorph female and realized the error of my ways.

I’ll say it again: Don’t be dismissive — that kind of thinking can result in missed opportunities for wildlife photographers. I never expected to see Rambur’s Forktails at Mason Neck West Park and my preconceptions almost caused me to miss a golden opportunity to see a relatively uncommon damselfly.

Related Resources: Excellent digital scans created by Gayle and Jeanelle Strickland. Click on the button labeled “Download file” in order to view full-size version of the graphics.

  • Ischnura ramburii female #2 | heteromorph female | JPG
  • Ischnura ramburii female #8 | andromorph female | JPG
  • Ischnura ramburii male #2 | male | JPG

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Rambur’s Forktail damselfly (female)”

  1. Acceptable uncertainty | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Forktail damselfly (Ischnura ramburii), based upon the fact that I’d seen an immature female Rambur’s Forktail on 03 October 2016 at the same location. I consulted the experts of the Northeast Odonata Facebook […]

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