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Damselfly - Ischnura posita

Damselfly - Ischnura posita
Auburn, Lee County, Alabama, USA
August 13, 2005
Can anyone ID this Damselfly? It appears to be in the bluet family but the coloration is not consistent with that group.

We would say
Ischnura posita male looks very good

You are correct on the family, BTW; it is a pond damsel, Coenagrionidae, same as the bluets. But different genus, bluets are Enallagma, as opposed to the forktails in Ischnura. This one's English name is Fragile Forktail.

Field mark
The memorable field mark here is the exlamation point, present in both males and females, matures and immatures. I always think an exlamation point goes well with "Fragile"—like on a parcel. The only Fragile Forktails that won't have the exlamation point are the very old females that have darkened so much you can't see it.


Stephen Cresswell
Buckhannon, WV

I was originally taught that the exclamation point works for the scientific name too, Ischnura posita, because you can be positive! you saw that species... Though actually, there are two other damsel species in the US (at least) which may have exclamation points in the same place: Zonagrion exclamationis, a western species, and sometimes the Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum). Both of them have blue exclamations, though, rather than the Fragile Forktail's green ones.

Not completely diagnostic
The exclamation point is a good start, but you have to look at the whole animal. Here's a great Wisconsin site that has some I. verticalis with exclamation points. Look at the blue ends of the abdomens to see that they are indeed verticalis and not posita.

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