A few New Mexico dragonflies and damselflies



If you're trying to identify a dragonfly or damselfly in the Albuquerque area, I recommend Bosque Bill's web page. I also find it useful to check a web site with Arizona dragonflies and damselflies. Every time I see a new dragonfly or damselfly, I refer to the images on both sites. Even so, I've been wrong about IDs many times.


With that warning: species are shown alphabetically within taxonomic level. If you see an error, please let me know via the contact tab at the top of the page.

Epiprocta (Dragonflies)


Aeshnidae: Common Green Darner (Anax junius)

In my pictures of pairs in tandem, the females are also ovipositing (laying eggs).


Corduliidae: Baskettail (Epitheca)

Both photos are of the same individual. Baskettails are Easterners and while they do extend to New Mexico, I'm a little surprised to have found one in Albuquerque.


Gomphidae: White-Belted Ringtail (Erpetogomphus compositus)


Gomphidae: Plains Clubtail (Gomphurus externus)


Gomphidae: Pale Snaketail (Ophiogomphus severus)


Gomphidae: Brimstone Clubtail (Stylurus intricatus)


Gomphidae: Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus)

This species has the habit of hanging vertically off the tips or edges of leaves. I'm calling this example an immature female because the mature females have blue eyes. The males have pronounced "clubs" at the ends of their abdomens, but on the females this feature is almost absent.


Libellulidae: Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collocata)


Libellulidae: Widow Skimmer(Libellula luctuosa

One way to tell female widow skimmers from immature males is, the females have dark wingtips and the males don't.


Libellulidae: Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia

I took my two photos of a female common whitetail as she hovered above a slew, bending down her abdomen to deposit eggs in the water.


Libellulidae: Twelve-Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

This dragonfly's name refers to the male's three black spots per wing (times four wings).


Libellulidae: Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)


Libellulidae, Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea)


Libellulidae, Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue dashers have pale faces. The adult males have blue bodies, an amber tinge at the wing bases, and turquoise-colored eyes.  Adult female blue dashers have black and yellow bodies and red upper eyes. As adult females grow older, their upper eyes also turn turquoise. Immature male blue dashers look a lot like adult females, but have mostly black abdomens.


Libellulidae: Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens


Libellulidae: Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera

One way to identify this species is to notice how small it is. Too small to be a flame skimmer. Also, notice the white stripes on the abdomen and the greenish spots towards the front.


Libellulidae: Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum


Libellulidae: Striped Meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes


Libellulidae: Band-Winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum

This species' name refers to the fuzzy dark bands you can see in the photos.


Libellulidae: Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)


Libellulidae: Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)

Zygoptera (Damselflies)


Calopterygidae: Rubyspot (Hetaerina)

The common name refers to the red at the bases of the male's wings. Sometimes the females show red on their wings, but if so, in a more diffuse pattern than on the males.


Coenagrionidae: Blue-Fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis)


Coenagrionidae: Sooty Dancer (Argia lugens)


Coenagrionidae: Powdered Dancer (Argia moesta)


Coenagrionidae: Springwater Dancer (Argia plana)


Coenagrionidae: Blue-Ringed Dancer (Argia sedula)


Coenagrionidae: Dusky Dancer (Argia translata)

One identifying characteristic of fully mature male dusky dancers is their blue eyes. In my photo of a mature male there's only a hint of that eye color, I suspect because of the low light.


Coenagrionidae: Boreal Bluet (Enallagma boreale)

My ID of these pairs in mating wheels is based in part on the small black bar on the first segment of the male's abdomen, in part on the blue on the female.


Coenagrionidae: Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile)

Note how the large blue bands on the male familiar bluet's abdomen go all the way around the upper half, while each of those on a male Arroyo Bluet's abdomen (below) are mostly topped with black.


Coenagrionidae: Arroyo Bluet (Enallagma praevarum)


Coenagrionidae: Pacific Forktail? (Ischnura cervula)

To see why I think this may be a Pacific forktail, see the discussion of Plains forktail males that follows.


Coenagrionidae: Plains Forktail (Ischnura damula)



Plains forktail males and Pacific forktail males are very similar. Both have large black patches on top of their thoraxes, with four blue spots at the corners of the patch. If there are short blue lines next to the two spots near the head (per the yellow arrows in the thumbnail to the left), that's a Plains forktail male.



Coenagrionidae: Western Forktail (Ischnura perparva)


Coenagrionidae: Plains or Pacific Forktail females? (Ischnura spp.)


Apparently there's no easy way to tell apart female Plains and Pacific forktails. They come in two color schemes, one featuring a tan thorax and the other a greenish thorax. Given my limited knowledge of damselflies, females of other species may also be represented.


Lestidae: Great Spreadwing (Archilestes grandis)

Besides holding its wings at an angle, instead of straight back, this one stood out for being much larger than the average local damselfly.