Wisconsin Odonata Survey

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Ischnura verticalis  (Say, 1839)
Eastern Forktail


Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family

Status-Global/State:

Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

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 1.3 inches. The eastern forktail male has a green thorax and almost entirely black abdomen with a blue tip. The female is orange with broad black mid-dorsal stripe and thin shoulder stripes. The abdomen is orange at the base and mostly black above. As the female matures, it becomes powdery-blue. Old females will be difficult to distinguish from other old female forktails.

Description of Habitat/Range:

This species is very common, ranging from eastern to central United States, including southeastern Canada. It is usually found at a variety of permanent still waters, including ponds, ditches, marsh bays, and streams. It seems to avoid acidic wetlands, i.e. bogs. In Wisconsin, it is one of our most common damselflies statewide.

Flight Season:

This species has the longest flight season of any Wisconsin damselfly. It has been found from early April to early November. The typical flight season is early May to late September.


Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
1%
(20)
10%
(206)
30%
(625)
25%
(513)
21%
(426)
12%
(250)
2%
(33)
<1%
(2)
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 eastern forktail
Male eastern forktail. © Dan Jackson

Male eastern forktail
Photo of Male eastern forktail
Male eastern forktail. © Mike Reese

Male eastern forktail
Photo of Male eastern forktail with broken thoracic stripe
Male eastern forktail with broken thoracic stripe. © Dan Jackson

Male eastern forktail with broken thoracic stripe
Photo of Female eastern forktail
Female eastern forktail. © Dan Jackson

Female eastern forktail
Photo of Female eastern forktail
Female eastern forktail. © Dan Jackson

Female eastern forktail
Photo of Intermediate female eastern forktail
Intermediate female eastern forktail. © Dan Jackson

Intermediate female eastern forktail
Photo of Immature female eastern forktail
Immature female eastern forktail. © Dan Jackson

Immature female eastern forktail
Photo of Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration. © Dan Jackson

Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Photo of Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration. © Dan Jackson

Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Photo of Eastern forktail pair
Eastern forktail pair. © Dan Jackson

Eastern forktail pair



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