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Paiute Dancer

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Argia alberta

Kennedy, 1918

Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea
Family Coenagrionidae
Genus Argia
Species alberta Kennedy, 1918 [Argia]


The labrum of the male is paler blue than rest of head. The eyes are dark blue dorsally becoming paler ventrally. There is a wide, dark "T" spot anterior to the median ocellus. There are small blue postocular spots. The pterothorax is pale blue or violet; generally darker dorsally becoming lighter laterally. There is a black middorsal stripe nearly twice the width of pale antehumeral stripe. The black humeral stripe is forked at its upper third and half the width of the pale antehumeral stripe. The legs are pale, but with blue basally on the femora and anteriorly on the inner surface of the tibiae. The tarsi are dark, often black. The abdominal segments 1 and 2 are blue. Segment 1 has a black spot dorsobasally. Segment 2 has a nearly full-length black stripe laterally. Segments 3-7 are dark black dorsally with a basal blue ring on each segment. Segments 8-10 are blue with dark ventrolateral markings. The cerci are about half the length of segment 10 and are divergent dorsally with a prominent ventrally directed, internal hook at their apex. The paraprocts are distinctly bifid with the lower branch rounded and projecting only slightly posteriorly. The upper branch is more pointed and distinctly directed dorsally. There are three postquadrangular cells in each wing. The head of the female is generally paler than the male. The posto cular spots are much larger. The humeral stripe is narrower than in males and symmetrically forked at its upper half. The legs are similarly colored to the male, but with the black markings less extensive. The medial posterior border of the mesostigmal plate is raised into a distinct rim. The middorsal thoracic carina bifurcates, diverging widely, well behind the posterior border of each mesostigmal plate. Mesepisternal tubercles are lacking.


Total length: 27-32 mm; abdomen: 21-25 mm; hindwing: 16-20 mm.

Similar Species

Blue-ringed Dancer (A. sedula ) is darker and the abdomen is predominately black including the dorsum of segment 3 and the humeral stripe is not as widely forked as in Paiute Dancer. Blue-ringed Dancer also often has an amber tint to its wings.


Small flowing streams or marshy springs.


Paiute Dancer is primarily a Great Basin species whose distribution extends to western Oklahoma and Texas and southern New Mexico in the region. It is most commonly seen at creeks, but northern specimens have been observed at hot springs and it may be found associated with saline waters. Egg laying occurs in tandem.


Western U.S. east to Texas and Oklahoma.