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Everglades Sprite



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Nehalennia pallidula

Calvert, 1913


Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea
Family Coenagrionidae
Genus Nehalennia
Species pallidula Calvert, 1913 [Nehalennia]


Identification

This is a small, dark damselfly that appears nearly black from the to p. Much of the head, the top of thorax and nearly all of the abdomen is metallic black dorsally. The prothorax in the male has the posterior margin strongly elevated. Laterally the pterothorax is blue. Abdominal segments 8-10 are dark dorsally and blue laterally. Segment 10 is mostly blue with black apically. The female is like the male but with abdominal segment 10 entirely blue.

Size

Total length: 24-29 mm; abdomen: 19-23 mm; hindwing: 13-15 mm.

Similar Species

Southern Sprite lacks the pale antehumeral stripes and is dark metallic green not black. Similar female Forktails, Citrine (I. hastata ) and Fragile (I. posita), have the dorsum of abdominal segment 10 black or pale orange, but not blue.

Habitat

Primary habitat in Florida is the Everglades, but it is known from ponds and rock pits.

Discussion

This species has been reported as "The only damselfly endemic to Florida....geographically the most restricted and ecologically and behaviorally the least known of the genus."  However, recently specimens were found in the Smithsonian that had been collected from Galveston in 1918 by Herbert Spencer Barber. The specimens appear to be properly labeled though its presence, historically at least, in Texas represent an extension of its known range. It is unknown if a population still exists along the Texas coast today. In Florida it survives in moist refugia during the dry season and moves from sedges to the shade of trees if the day becomes too hot or windy.

Distribution

Florida and Texas.