Ischnura perparva
(Western 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). It has the typical slender immature damselfly shape. The color is uniform, ranging from olive to pale brown.
   Adult- This is a very small damselfly about 1 to 1 ¼ inch (23 to 28 mm). The male has green stripes on the side of the thorax, blue stripes on top of the thorax, and a black abdomen with segments eight and nine colored bright blue. The females are light orange brown, becoming a pale pruinose blue as they age.

This species is found from southern British Columbia east to Manitoba and south to Texas and California. In Idaho it is found throughout the state.

This damselfly is found at ponds, lakes, and very slow-moving streams. It's often found at alkaline ponds.

Adult Flight Season:
Early June - October. In the lower elevation areas of the state it probably emerges as early as late April.

   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.

The naiads of this species are often found in mud bottoms rather than among aquatic plants. Their uniform color serves as great camouflage for this habitat.

The males set up territories at choice breeding sites. Before females turn pruinose, males and females mate. If a male approaches a female after her receptive period the female curves the tip of her abdomen upwards in a characteristic posture and she is generally left alone. After mating, the female oviposits singly, without the males attached, in floating vegetation at ponds, lakes, and slow streams.

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 Unpublished M. S. thesis.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.