Wisconsin Odonata Survey

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Ischnura posita  (Hagen, 1861)
Fragile Forktail


Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family

Status-Global/State:

Global: G5     Wisconsin: S2S3    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The fragile forktail has a very distinctive thoracic pattern, compared to other forktails. The name "forktail" comes from tiny projections off the tip of males' abdomens, which help to identify the species. The length of the body varies from 0.8 to 1.1 inches. The male's thorax is black above with broken green shoulder stripes (resembling exclamation marks) and pale green sides. The abdomen is black above with thin pale rings. The abdomen may rarely have a blue spot near the tip. The female is similar but the pale areas are bluish. As the females mature, they become pruinose blue-gray, obscuring distinctive shoulder stripes. But the females are never orange like other forktails. The old fragile forktail females will be difficult to distinguish from other old female forktails.

Description of Habitat/Range:

This species can be found at a wide variety of wetlands with vegetation including ponds, swamps, streams, and vernal pools throughout eastern United States and southeastern Canada. In Wisconsin, it is infrequently found at scattered sites throughout the state.

Flight Season:

In Wisconsin, adults have been documented from late May to early September.


Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
17%
(9)
10%
(5)
21%
(11)
35%
(18)
17%
(9)
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 fragile forktail
Male fragile forktail. © Dan Jackson

Male fragile forktail
Photo of Male fragile forktail
Male fragile forktail. © Dan Jackson

Male fragile forktail
Photo of Male fragile forktail with rare unbroken shoulder stripe
Male fragile forktail with rare unbroken shoulder stripe. © Dan Jackson

Male fragile forktail with rare unbroken shoulder stripe
Photo of Female fragile forktail
Female fragile forktail. © Dan Jackson

Female fragile forktail
Photo of Immature female fragile forktail
Immature female fragile forktail. © Dan Jackson

Immature female fragile forktail
Photo of Immature female fragile forktail
Immature female fragile forktail. © Dan Jackson

Immature female fragile forktail



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