Saturday, January 27, 2018

Eastern Forktail Damselfly Habitats: Black-Tipped, Blue-Segmented Body


Summary: North American eastern forktail damselfly habitats from the Rockies east to Newfoundland through Georgia have blue-segmented, black-tipped abdomens.


adult female eastern forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis) in Guelph, southwestern Ontario, east central Canada; June 16, 2014: Ryan Hodnett, CC BY SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

North American eastern forktail damselfly habitats access cultivation along slow-moving, small, sunny, vegetated water bodies and naturalism through distribution ranges in southeastern Canada and in the United States east of the Rockies.
Eastern forktails bear their common name for eastern North American males' fork-tipped abdomens and the scientific name Ischnura verticalis (thin, vertical tail) for delicate, straight abdomens. Common names communicate the consensus of scientific committees convened by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, consolidated in 1988 and created a non-profit corporation in 2002. Scientific designations date from descriptions in 1839 by Thomas Say (June 27, 1787-Oct. 10, 1834), Philadelphia-born insect, reptile and shell specialist on nineteenth-century North American expeditions.
Eastern forktail damselfly lifespans expect emergent or floating, stemmed vegetation in, or grasses, sedges or herbaceous or woodland plants near, lakes, marshes, ponds, rivers and streams.

January through December function as optimum, southernmost flight seasons even though May through August furnish wildlife mapping opportunities northeast and southeast from the United States' Rockies.
All ages and both genders gather on low-lying perches on branches, soils or stems amid shoreline vegetation even though they rarely go out over open waters. Female eastern forktail damselflies halt homeland-invading females and males by curling abdomens downward and by rapidly beating wings and generally have only one 40-minute, monogamous mating. One-time matings impel mothers-to-be as young as four days old to implant 1,000-plus eggs two to three hours later in aquatic or shoreline plant stem tissue.
Ants, biting midges, ducks, falcons, fish, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, robber flies, spiders, turtles and water beetles and mites jeopardize North American eastern forktail damselfly habitats.

Immature eastern forktail damselflies keep the same colors as mature males whereas immature females know either mature female- or male-like morphs (color forms) the first week.
Immature females as andromorphs look mature male-like with black, blue and green abdominal segments, green eyes, green shoulder-striped and side-lined black thoraxes and green, small eyespots. Immature females as heteromorphs manifest mature female-like black and orange-red abdomens, black eyes, orange-red eyespots and orange-red thoraxes with black, wide dorsal and narrow shoulder stripes. Forktail members of the Coenagrionidae pond damsel family need aphids, beetles, borers, caddisflies, copepods, crane flies, dobsonflies, gnats, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, rotifers, scuds, water fleas and worms.
North American eastern forktail damselfly habitats offer season-coldest temperatures, northward to southward, from minus 45 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42.77 to minus 9.44 degrees Celsius).

Beech, bellflower, birch, bladderwort, cattail, daisy, grass, greenbrier, heath, laurel, madder, maple, nettle, olive, pepperbush, pine, pondweed, rush, sedge, water-lily and willow families promote eastern forktails.
Gray-blue powdery coatings over black upper thoraxes with blue-black dorsal and shoulder stripes, dark abdomens and green eyes and faces quicken adult female eastern forktail identifications. Mature males reveal, one day after molting into adulthood, black, blue and green abdomens, green eyespots, eyes and faces and green shoulder-striped and side-lined black thoraxes. Adults show off 0.79- to 1.29-inch (20- to 33-millimeter) head-body lengths, 0.59- to 1.02-inch (15- to 26-millimeter) abdomens and 0.43- to 0.75-inch (11- to 19-millimeter) hindwings.
Absence of two blue segments and of black-tipped abdomens trace furtive and Rambur's forktail males and orange-blue females in overlapping North American eastern forktail damselfly habitats.

adult male eastern forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis) at Gatineau Park, Quebec, eastern Canada; July 9, 2011: D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC BY SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
adult female eastern forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis) in Guelph, southwestern Ontario, east central Canada; June 16, 2014: Ryan Hodnett, CC BY SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Forktail_(Ischnura_verticalis),_Female_01.jpg
adult male eastern forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis) at Gatineau Park, Quebec, eastern Canada; July 9, 2011: D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC BY SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Forktail,_male,_Gatineau_Park.jpg

For further information:
Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Princeton NJ; Oxford UK: Princeton University Press, 2005.
Beaton, Giff. Dragonflies & Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. Athens GA; London UK: University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Berger, Cynthia. Dragonflies. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole Books: Wild Guide, 2004.
Bright, Ethan. "Ischnura verticalis (Say, 1839: 37 as Agrion) -- Eastern Forktail." Aquatic Insects of Michigan > Odonata (Dragon- and Damselflies) of Michigan > Zygoptera Selys, 1854 > Coenagrionidae, Kirby, 1890 (Pond Damselflies) > Ischnura Charpentier, 1840 (Forktails).
Available @ http://www.aquaticinsects.org/sp/Odonata/sp_oom.html
"Ischnura verticalis." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Zygoptera > Coenagrionidae > Ischnura.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @ https://medusa.jcu.edu.au/Dragonflies/openset/displaySpecies.php?spid=3774
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2011.
Say, Thomas. "Descriptions of New North American Neuropterous Insects, and Observations on Some Already Described: 1. A. verticalis." Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. VIII, part I: 37-38. Philadelphia PA: Merrihew and Thompson, 1839.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/24622988
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044106432990?urlappend=%3Bseq=47


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