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Dusky Dancer

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Argia translata

Hagen in Selys, 1865

Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea
Family Coenagrionidae
Genus Argia
Species translata Hagen in Selys, 1865 [Argia]
Syn Argia espinalensis Nav¿¿s, 1935


In males the front of the head is pale, becoming almost entirely black with age. The top of the head is largely black with pale postoccipital spots and an occipital bar becoming obscured with age. The head noticeably hairy. The black middorsal stripe is broad and the pale yellow antehumeral stripe is a third the width of the middorsal stripe. The dark humeral stripe may be almost completely divided longitudinally by a pale stripe in younger individuals. These dark stripes become fused in older males. There is a black stripe on the met apleural suture. The rest of the pterothorax is pale yellow becoming densely pruinose in older individuals. The legs are black with a narrow pale stripe on their outer surface. There are 5 and 4 postquadrangular cells in the fore- and hindwings, respectively. Abdominal segment 1 is black with a large pale lateral spot on each side and a laterally elongated apical spot. Segment 2 is black with a pale middorsal stripe which is often broken medially. Segments 3-7 are largely black with a pale yellow or blue basal ring and a pale ventrolateral stripe on each side. Segment 8 is black with a strongly irregular blue ring basally whose sides are exaggerated and extend posteriorly. The top of segment 9 is blue for a quarter or more of their length. The apical portion of the segment is black and strongly sinuate dorsally and laterally. Segment 10 is black with a small pale spot laterally. The cerci are strongly decurved when viewed laterally. The paraprocts are dark and branched with the dorsall y directed superior lobe rounded and the longer inferior lobe directed posteroventrally. The female is similar to the male with large pale postoccipital spots and an occipital bar. The posterior lobes of the mesostigmal plates are slightly constricted at their base when viewed dorsally. Laterally, these lobes appear as a thin linear projection. Mesepisternal tubercles are well developed. The antehumeral stripe is pale and 2/5 as wide as the black middorsal stripe. The humeral stripe is most often divided as in younger males. Abdominal segment 2 is as in younger males, with the pale middorsal stripe often divided into a basal stripe and an apical spot. Segments 3-7 each have a pale basal ring that is contiguous with the pale ventrolateral stripe. There is a continuous pale middorsal stripe that is widest on the anterior segments. Segments 8-10 are pale with a lateral dark stripe.


Total length: 32-38 mm; abdomen: 25-33 mm; hindwing: 19-23 mm.

Similar Species

Sooty Dancer (A. lugens ) and Powdered Dancer (A. moesta ) are both larger. Segments 8 and 9 are mostly black and there is a dark line paralleling the middorsal thoracic stripe in both sexes of Sooty Dancer. The pale color pattern on segments 8 and 9 are different and mature individuals of the Powdered Dancer become gray or whtie. Tonto Dancer (A. tonto ) has a largely violet abdomen.


Streams and rivers generally with a lot of exposure to sun and only moderate vegetation.


This species has the widest distribution of any dancer occurring in the United States and is subject to a great amount of ontogenetic change as an early adult. This change is especially evident in the pterothoracic markings and on abdominal segments 8 through 10.


Georgia north to Ontario, Canada; east to Oklahoma and Texas and south through Central America to Argentina.