Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Amphiagrion abbreviatum  (Selys, 1876)
Western Red Damsel

Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family


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.

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 western red damsel
Male western red damsel. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male western red damsel
Male western red damsel. © 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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