Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

See Moth submissions from National Moth Week 2023

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Species Ischnura cervula - Pacific Forktail

Pacific Forktail - Ischnura cervula - male Female Taiga Bluet? - Ischnura cervula Ischnura cervula - female mature Pacific forktail - Ischnura cervula - female Pacific Forktail - Ischnura cervula - female Pacific forktails mating - Ischnura cervula - male - female heteromorph female Pacific forktail - Ischnura cervula - female Pacific Forktail - Ischnura cervula - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder Zygoptera (Damselflies)
Family Coenagrionidae (Narrow-winged Damselflies)
Genus Ischnura (Forktails)
Species cervula (Pacific Forktail)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1876 by Edmond de Sélys Longchamps as Ischnura cervula
Explanation of Names
Probably a diminutive of Latin cervus- "(red) deer"
23-30 mm
abdomen blue only on segments 8 & 9 -- blue on top and bottom touch along sides. Four tiny blue dots on top of thorax.

See California Dragonflies and Damselflies or Dennis Paulson (1)

Andromorphic females will have a blue 8th abdominal segment only, with no blue, or only blue spots, on 9th segment; males have 8th & 9th segments blue.

Young female - orange:

Pink bodied females with various amounts of blue:
Blue on 8 with spots on 9:

Blue on 8, none on 9:

patchy blue on 8:

Blue females:

Mature females:
Western half of the US
Marshy edges of lakes, ponds, and slow streams
April through October
See Also
Ischnura damula is very similar and we may not be able to separate them in areas where their ranges overlap. But I. damula does not range into southern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and western Wyoming. So all similar images in those areas can be assumed to be Ischnura cervula.
Internet References
Bulletins de l'Académie royale ... de Belgique, ser.2, v.41, p.262    Selys' original description of the species (in French).
Works Cited
1.Dragonflies of Washington
Dennis Paulson. 1999. Seattle Audubon Society.