Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Ischnura hastata  (Say, 1839)
Citrine Forktail

Coenagrionidae, Pond Damsel Family
"Most Wanted" Species


Global: G5     Wisconsin: SU    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The citrine forktail varies from 0.8 to 1.1 inches in the body length. The name "forktail" comes from tiny projections off the tip of males' abdomens, which help to identify the species. The male's thorax is black above with yellow shoulder stripes and yellow sides. The abdomen is bright yellow with black triangles above and the tip all yellow. The stigmas, near the tip of the wings, are reddish on the forewings and brown on rear wings. The female's thorax is orange with broad black mid-dorsal stripe and thin black shoulder stripes. The abdomen is mostly orange with black markings. The last half of the abdomen is black above. When the female gets older, it becomes dark bluish gray and thus difficult to separate from other older female forktails.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Ranging from southwest to eastern United States, this species likes marshy ponds, vernal pools, stream backwaters, seeps, and wetlands. It is rare in Wisconsin, being known from just a few, widely scattered sites.

Flight Season:

In Wisconsin, relatively few adults have been documented. Throughout its range, the flight season is from early June to late September.

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 citrine forktail
Male citrine forktail. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male citrine forktail
Male citrine forktail. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male citrine forktail
Male citrine forktail. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Female citrine forktail
Female citrine forktail. © Jim Lind

Photo of Immature female citrine forktail
Immature female citrine forktail. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Teneral female citrine forktail
Teneral female citrine forktail. © Dan Jackson

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