Violet Dancers

I observed several species of damselfly along the Crystal River in Michigan including the Ebony Jewelwing that I have discussed previously. Violet Dancers, Argia fumipennis violacea were also numerous. The Violet Dancer is a subspecies of the Variable Dancer, aptly named because of the color variation in geographically distant populations. The male Violet Dancers have beautiful iridescent purple markings on the abdomen and a distinct forked black line on the thorax. The females are a subdued brown.

The Dancers of the Genus Argia have a buoyant, dancing flight and typically perch for only brief periods. They are also noted for the long spines on the tibia (lower leg). There are over 100 species of Argia in North America.

Like all damselflies, the larvae are aquatic, feeding underwater on insects and other small prey. The larvae have gills at the tips of the abdomens that are used to breathe underwater. The larvae, when fully grown, will climb out of the water to molt into adults. The adults have a tracheal system with spiracles for breathing in the air, similar to most other insects.

Violet Dancers are present in Indiana but are not as common in Tippecanoe County as the Ebony Jewelwing.

Violet Dancers
Top: Male
Bottom: Female

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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1 Response to Violet Dancers

  1. Pingback: Dancers and Dashers | Living With Insects Blog

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