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Amphiagrion abbreviatum
Western Red Damsel

(Selys, 1876)
Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family
photo of Male western red damsel
Male western red damsel — Dan Jackson
Status-Global/State:
Global: G5 Wisconsin: S3S4
Distinguishing Characteristics:
The western red damsel is identifiable by its small size and red and black coloration. The body length varies from 0.9 to 1.1 inches. The thorax is red with black front. The abdomen is mostly red with some black markings at the end. The female is similar to the male but duller and with no black on the thorax. The red damsels have short black legs. The coloration darkens in some areas as the red damsels get older. Currently, there are two named species of red damsel in North America: the eastern red damsel (Amphiagrion saucium) and the western red damsel. Specimens from the Midwest, including Wisconsin, are morphologically intermediate between these two similar species. Wisconsin specimens appear to more closely resemble the western species, but more taxonomic work on this genus is needed.
Description of Habitat/Range:
This species is usually found at springs, seepages, spring-fed bogs, and spring-fed runs. It is known throughout the western and central United States and parts of Canada. These small stout red and black damselflies do not seem to wander far from their breeding habitats. It is widely, though locally, distributed throughout Wisconsin in appropriate habitats.
Flight Season:
Late May to mid-July in Wisconsin.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
photo of Male western red damsel
Male western red damsel — Dan Jackson
photo of Male western red damsel
Male western red damsel — Dan Jackson
photo of Close-up of male western red damsel thorax
Close-up of male western red damsel thorax — Dan Jackson
photo of Side view of male western red damsel cercus
Side view of male western red damsel cercus — Dan Jackson
photo of Female western red damsel
Female western red damsel — Dan Jackson
photo of Immature female western red damsel
Immature female western red damsel — Dan Jackson
photo of Western red damsel pair in tandem
Western red damsel pair in tandem — Mike Reese
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