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Ischnura verticalis
Eastern Forktail

(Say, 1839)
Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family
photo of Male eastern forktail
Male eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
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.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
photo of Male eastern forktail
Male eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
photo of Male eastern forktail
Male eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
photo of Male eastern forktail with broken thoracic stripe
Male eastern forktail with broken thoracic stripe — Dan Jackson
photo of Male eastern foktail abdomen tip showing cercus (upper part of clasper) in side view
Male eastern foktail abdomen tip showing cercus (upper part of clasper) in side view — Dan Jackson
photo of Female eastern forktail
Female eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
photo of Female eastern forktail
Female eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
photo of Intermediate female eastern forktail
Intermediate female eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
photo of Immature female eastern forktail
Immature female eastern forktail — Dan Jackson
photo of Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration — Dan Jackson
photo of Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration — Dan Jackson
photo of Immature female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration
Immature female eastern forktail with some 'male-like' coloration — Dan Jackson
photo of Eastern forktail pair
Eastern forktail pair — Dan Jackson
photo of Eastern forktail pair with immature female
Eastern forktail pair with immature female — Dan Jackson
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