Sunday, March 25, 2018

Blue-Fronted Dancer Damselfly Habitats: Blue Tip, Plain Thorax, Upright Wing


Summary: North American blue-fronted dancer damselfly habitats from Canada to Mexico get bouncy fliers with blue tips, unmarked thoraxes and wings upright at rest.


blue-fronted dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis); Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area, Owing Mills, Baltimore County, north central Maryland; Aug. 8, 2014: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

North American blue-fronted dancer damselfly habitats apportion arborists, master gardeners, master naturalists and tree stewards mudland distribution ranges from the Rockies through Ontario, Canada, and Atlantic coastal Maine through Gulf coastal Mexico.
Blue-fronted dancers bear their common name for colors of thoracic fronts and for non-smooth flight and the scientific name Argia apicalis (laziness [with abdomens] tipped [blue]). Common names concur with the consensus of scientific committees convened by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, whose membership can come to all annual business meetings. Scientific designations draw upon descriptions in 1839 by Thomas Say (June 27, 1787-Oct. 10, 1834), librarian from Pennsylvania for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Blue-fronted dancer damselfly life cycles expect larger and smaller lakes, ponds, rivers and streams with nearby muddy lands and open fields and with some muddy waters.

March through December function as optimum, southernmost flight seasons even though June through August furnish wildlife mapping opportunities through Canada's, Mexico's and the United States' niches.
Male blue-fronted dancers go early from rooting sites to ground or low-lying, 6-foot- (1.83-meter-) long perches to be guarded by territorial, wing-flicking displays for three hours. They hold their abdomens out at angles of 60 degrees to help thermoregulation (ambient weather-hastened body temperature levels) by hindering surface exposure on hot, sunny days. Their legs and mouthparts imprison prey during sallies from perches after opportunistic passers-by or for search-and-seize flights after air-, ground-, plant-, water-borne stalked crawlers and fliers.
Ants, assassin flies, biting midges, ducks, falcons, fish, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, spiders, turtles and water beetles and mites jeopardize North American blue-fronted dancer damselfly habitats.

Immature blue-fronted dancer damselflies keep to dull, faded, light, pale colors and lower size ranges even though adult females know female-like heteromorph and male-like andromorph colors.
Incomplete metamorphosis leads blue-fronted dancers through life cycle stages as eggs in floating horizontal vegetation, as egg-hatched, multi-molting larvae, naiads or nymphs and as mature damselflies. Females merge at watersides two hours after males for 10- to 27-minute midday mating before tandem 10- to 50-minute look-and-land flights and 53- to 115-minute ovipositing. Dancer 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 blue-fronted dancer damselfly habitats offer season-coldest temperature ranges, north- to south-ward, from minus 15 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 26.11 to 21.11 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 blue-fronted dancers.
Blue-, brown- or green-lined, pale-ringed, black abdomens, black-and-blue-striped heads, black-marked legs, blue occipital spots and striped blue, brown or green thoraxes quicken adult brown-eyed female identifications. Males reveal black and blue heads, black-lined blue-gray-violet thoraxes, black-marked legs, blue occipital spots, blue-segmented black abdomens, eyes frontally blue and posteriorly brown and white-tan sides. Adults show off 1.29- to 1.58-inch (33- to 40-millimeter) head-body lengths, 1.02- to 1.26-inch (26- to 32-millimeter) abdomens and 0.83- to 0.98-inch (21- to 25-millimeter) hindwings.
Blue-tipped abdomens, bouncy flight, unmarked thoraxes and upright-held wings tell female and male blue-fronted from other dancers and from bluets in overlapping blue-fronted dancer damselfly habitats.

brown form female blue-fronted dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis); Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, northeastern Piedmont region, northeastern North Carolina; Aug. 27, 2016: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
blue-fronted dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis); Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area, Owing Mills, Baltimore County, north central Maryland; Aug. 8, 2014: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue-fronted_Dancer_-_Argia_apicalis,_Soldier%27s_Delight,_Owings_Mills,_Maryland.jpg
brown form female blue-fronted dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis); Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, northeastern Piedmont region, northeastern North Carolina; Aug. 27, 2016: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue-fronted_Dancer_-_Argia_apicalis,_Kerr_Lake,_North_Carolina_-_28682539903.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.
"Argia apicalis." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Zygoptera > Coenigrionidae > Argia.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @ https://medusa.jcu.edu.au/Dragonflies/openset/displaySpecies.php?spid=3397
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. "Argia apicalis (Say, 1839: 40 as Agrion) -- Blue-fronted Dancer." Aquatic Insects of Michigan > Odonata (Dragon- and Damselflies) of Michigan > Zygoptera, Selys, 1854 > Coenagrionidae, Kirby, 1890 (Pond Damselflies) > Argia, Rambur, 1842 (Dancers).
Available @ http://www.aquaticinsects.org/sp/Odonata/sp_oom.html
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: 4. A. apicalis." Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. VIII, part I: 40-41. Philadelphia PA: Merrihew and Thompson, 1839.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/24622991
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044106432990?urlappend=%3Bseq=50urlappend=%3Bseq=23
"Species Argia apicalis - Blue-Fronted Dancer." Bug Guide > Arthropods (Arthropoda) > Hexapods (Hexapoda) > Insects (Insecta) > Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) > Damselflies (Zygoptera) > Narrow-winged Damselflies (Coenagrionidae) > Dancers (Argia).
Available @ https://bugguide.net/node/view/2642


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