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Seepage Dancer



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Argia bipunctulata

Hagen, 1861


Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea
Family Coenagrionidae
Genus Argia
Species bipunctulata (Hagen, 1861) [Agrion]


Identification

The face of the male is light blue with a single medial black spot at the base of the labrum and on either side of the postclypeus. The top of the head is black and postocular spots are lacking. The pale blue occipital bar is broadly divided in the middle. The pterothorax is entirely black dorsally and pale blue laterally, with narrow pale antehumeral stripes half the width of the black humeral stripe. The metapleural suture is narrowly outlined by black. The legs are pale with black stripes on the outer surfaces of the femora and tibiae and the tarsi are black. The wings are clear with a light brown pterostigma resting on a single cell. There are 3 postquadrangular cells in both wings. The color of abdominal segments 1 and 2 are blue becoming paler laterally. There is a single median black spot at the base of segment 1 and a pair of black spots at the posterior margin of segment 2. The latter spots may be confluent and often join with a black apical ring on segment 2. There is a dark band on the apical quarter of segment 3 that surrounds a pale blue spot laterally. Segments 4 and 5 have a black band for 1/3 of each segment. Segment 6 may have an apical band occupying half of its segment. Segment 7 is entirely black except for a blue basal ring. Segments 8-10 are entirely blue. The cerci and paraprocts are approximately the same length. The female is similar to the male, but with the pale colors often yellow or tan. The small postocular spots may be fused with a stripe that is confluent with each compound eye. The mesostigmal plates have poorly developed lobes and mesepisternal tubercles are lacking. Th e abdominal color is mostly black dorsally, with only a light basal ring on segments 3-7. Segment 8 is pale dorsally and black laterally. Segments 9 and 10 are solid black.

Size

Total length: 23-30 mm; abdomen: 18-24 mm; hindwing: 13-18 mm.

Similar Species

Seepage Dancer is the smallest dancer in the south-central United States. Its size, dark head and thorax, and lack of postocular spots will separate it from any other dancer in the region. Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens ) is slightly smaller and has a thin pale stripe dividing each dark humeral stripe.

Habitat

Associated with sunny sphagnum seepages, small lakes, ponds and streams.

Discussion

This species often perches vertically on grass stems or other available perches in its habitat, only occasionally perching on the ground.

Distribution

Eastern U.S. from Florida to New Hampshire west to Kansas and Texas.