Violet Tail (Argia violacea or Argia fumipennis violacea)

Violet Tail (Argia violacea)

The Violet Tail (Argia violacea or Argia fumipennis violacea), also called Violet Dancer, is an insect in the Coenagrionidae (Narrow-winged Damselflies) family and order Odonata (Dragons and Damselflies). This damselfly is one of the most common species in North America. Many taxonomists identify this insect as a distinct species but others list it as a subspecies of Argia fumipennis. The current and most common taxonomy list this fly as a subspecies. The common names refer to the violet body. The family name is from the Greek for "common wild." The genus name is from the Greek for "silver or bright," in this case, probably "bright." The species name, fumipennis, is from the Latin for "smoky wings." The species/subspecies name, violacea, is Latin for "violet." The photograph above shows a Violet Tail  resting on a leaf near the shore of French Hill Pond. .The males have a black head. The females have lighter heads and browner coloring. The wings are clear and almost transparent as seen in the photograph above.

The Violet Tail grows to about 1¼ inches (3.3centimeters) long and has a wingspan of about 2 inches (5 centimeters).

The adult eats small insects of all kinds and the naiad (hatchling) consumes aquatic insects. Male and female pairs can be seen flying together over French Hill Pond in the summer. Males will grasp the females, hover and dip the female's tail in the water where she can deposit her eggs. When she is finished egg laying, the male will lift the female from the water and the pair will fly off. The eggs hatch in the water where the naiads grow until they transform into adults.

These common insects do not bite but consume biting insects making them very beneficial.


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