Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Division of Entomology

Variable Dancer

Argia fumipennis violacea

Hagen, 1861

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This is a fairly common eastern species with Nebraska near thewestern and northern limits of its range. Although widespread in the state it is rare in counties along the eastern edge of the state and more common along the southern and northern border counties than in the center of the state. Found along sluggish and muddy streams up to clear, fast flowingstreams and even rivers, it is also not uncommon on small ponds andlakes, at edges in grass, cattails, etc., or on bare ground.

There are three subspecies of the Variable Dancer. The most widely distributed, and the one present in Nebraska, is Argia fumipennis violacea, sometimes called Violet Dancer. Males are violet on the head, top of the thorax and abdomen. The top of abdominal segments 8-10 are blue. Females are brown. Both sexes have wide black stripes on the top of the thorax and clear wings.

Variable Dancer
Variable Dancer

Size: 29-34 mm (1.1-1.3 in)

Habitat: shallow streams, ponds and bogs

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, NM, CO, WY, MT, MO, IA

Flight season: mid June to late August

Variable Dancer map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.

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