Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Argia moesta  (Hagen, 1861)
Powdered Dancer

Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family

The dancers (Argia species) are sometimes similar in appearance to the bluets (Enallagma species) and may require in-hand examinations to separate them. Dancers can always be identified by the long setae on the front of their tibiae, which are twice as long as the intervening spaces. In all other pond damsels, these setae are only about as long as the intervening spaces. The females generally are duller than males and more difficult to identify. The "bouncy" flight of the dancers also distinguishes them from the bluets.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Varying from 1.5 to 1.7 inches in length, the powdered dancer is uniquely marked. The male has a chalky white thorax with dark stripes that blur with age. The abdomen is blackish with a pale gray tip. The eyes are dark. The female has blue and brown forms. The blue form female has a dark tip instead of bright blue tip of the abdomen. The brown form female is lighter colored in some areas compared to the brown form blue-fronted dancer female.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found from central to eastern United States and southeastern Canada, the powdered dancer likes rocky rivers and lakes with rocky shores. It is common and widely distributed throughout Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

Typically from early June to late August in Wisconsin.

Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male powdered dancer
Male powdered dancer. © Dan Jackson

Male powdered dancer
Photo of Immature male powdered dancer
Immature male powdered dancer. © Dan Jackson

Immature male powdered dancer
Photo of Female powdered dancer
Female powdered dancer. © Dan Jackson

Female powdered dancer
Photo of Blue-form female powdered dancer
Blue-form female powdered dancer. © Dan Jackson

Blue-form female powdered dancer
Photo of Teneral female powdered dancer
Teneral female powdered dancer. © Dan Jackson

Teneral female powdered dancer
Photo of Male and female powdered dancers
Male and female powdered dancers. © Dan Jackson

Male and female powdered dancers

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