Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Argia plana  Calvert, 1902
Springwater Dancer

Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family
"Most Wanted" Species

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: S2S3    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The length of the springwater dancer varies from 1.3 to 1.6 inches for both males and females. The male is very blue with black markings on the thorax and abdomen. The tip of the abdomen ends with bright blue. The legs are bluish. The female is similar to the male but with pale brownish coloration, occasionally blue coloration. The head and thoracic markings are similar to males, but there are more black abdominal markings.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Ranging from central to southwest United States, the springwater dancer is found at streams, especially near rocky riffles. Wisconsin is at the northeastern corner of the range of this species, and it has only been found here in a few southern counties.

Flight Season:

Not well documented In Wisconsin. In the northern part of its range, the flight season is from mid-June to late August.

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 springwater dancer
Male springwater dancer. © Dan Jackson

Male springwater dancer
Photo of Male springwater dancer showing color change due to low temperature
Male springwater dancer showing color change due to low temperature. © Dan Jackson

Male springwater dancer showing color change due to low temperature
Photo of Teneral/immature male springwater dancer
Teneral/immature male springwater dancer. © Dan Jackson

Teneral/immature male springwater dancer
Photo of Female springwater dancer
Female springwater dancer. © Dan Jackson

Female springwater dancer
Photo of Teneral female springwater dancer
Teneral female springwater dancer. © Dan Jackson

Teneral female springwater dancer
Photo of Springwater dancer pair
Springwater dancer pair. © Dan Jackson

Springwater dancer pair

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