Ischnura denticollis
(Black-fronted Forktail)

Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera
Order Description:
Family: Coenagrionidae
Family Description: Forktail

   Naiad- This is a small, naiad about ¾ inch (15 to 18 mm) long. It has the typical, slender shape of immature damselflies.
   Adult- This is a very small damselfly generally less than one inch (22 to 26 mm) long. The male has pale blue on the side of the thorax, solid black on top of the thorax, and a blue-green abdomen with segments eight and nine colored bright blue. Most females are light orange brown, but some are colored very similarly to males.

This species is found from eastern Oregon east to Kansas and south to Texas, Baja California, and Guatemala. In Idaho it is found only in the southwest corner of the state.

This damselfly is found at spring-fed pools and streams in arid areas.

Adult Flight Season:
Late April - Late September or early October

   Naiad- Naiads eat a wide variety of aquatic insects, including mosquito larvae, mayfly larvae, and other aquatic fly larvae.
   Adult- Adults eat a wide variety of small soft-bodied flying insects, such as mosquitoes, mayflies, flies and small moths. They will also pick small insects such as aphids from plants.

Very little is known about the ecology of this species, except for its preference for spring-fed pools in desert areas.

The males set up territories at choice breeding sites. After males and females mate, the female, unlike other forktails, stays attached to the males (called "in tandem") as she lays her eggs in floating vegetation.

Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
Status: Unprotected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?

Corbet, P. S. 1999. Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, 829pp.

Logan, E. R. 1967. The Odonata of Idaho. Unpublished M. S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 105 pp.

Needham, J. G. and M. J. Westfall. 1955. Dragonflies of North America. University of California Press, Berkely, California, USA, 615 pp.

Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington, USA, 32 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. III. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 307 pp.

Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Photos by Dennis Paulson, 2001
Design by Ean Harker, 2001.

HTML by Marty Peck, 2001.