Arizona Damselfly and Dragonfly Conservation Update

Masked Clubskimmer Dragonfly

Masked Clubskimmer (Brechmorhoga pertinas). Photo from Odonata Central. This species’ conservation status ranking by Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is S1, CRITICALLY IMPERILED.

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Damselfly and Dragonfly (Odonata) Conservation

These are my favorite predators.  They have been around since before the dinosaurs, much longer than any mammal predator that ever existed.  They’ve survived for such a long time because once evolution achieved their form and behavior, it hasn’t been able to find anything better–for over three hundred million years.


Damselflies and dragonflies are amazing fliers.  These aerial acrobats can hover, fly straight up, straight down, and even upside down.  Their vision and speed are so good, that they are difficult to catch in bug nets.  A hovering dragonfly can move away so fast it seems to disappear.

These little creatures are familiar and common, and yet the conservation status of most of them is unknown.  Worldwide, specialists considered them an imperiled group.  In Arizona, the quality and quantity of the moist habitats they require are declining as the human population soars.  More observers are needed, and you can help by registering with Odonata Central and posting your sightings.  Find photographs and learn more about Arizona damselfly and dragonfly conservation at the Arizona Dragonfly and Arizona Odonata websites.

Arizona Damselfly and Dragonfly Numbers*

  • World:  ≈5,500
  • U. S.:  ≤500
  • Arizona:  137*
  • Status Unknown:  107 (78%)
  • AZGFD Imperiled (S1-S4) :  26 (19%)
  • ESA Species of Concern:  1

*I added 30 species on the Odonata Central list to the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) October, 2013 list.  Other sources list slightly different numbers of species.  The reason for this is usually that some lists contain subspecies not included in others.

Arizona Damselfly and Dragonfly References

Arizona Damselfly and Dragonfly Conservation Status Symbols
Symbols Used by AZGFD

  • S1         Critically Imperiled: Extremely rare or some factor(s) is making the species especially vulnerable to extirpation.  Typically 5 or fewer locations or very few remaining individuals (<1,000).
  • S2         Imperiled:  Rare or some factor(s) is making the species very vulnerable to extirpation. Typically 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals (1,000 to 3,000).
  • S3         Vulnerable:  Rare or found only in a restricted range (even if abundant at some locations), or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.  Typically 21 to 100 occurrences or between 3,000 and 10,000 individuals.
  • S4         Apparently Secure:  Uncommon but not rare, and usually widespread.  Usually more than 100 occurrences* and more than 10,000 individuals.  Possible long-term concern.
  • S5         Secure:  Common, widespread, and abundant.  Safe under present conditions.  Typically with considerably more than 100 locations and more than 10,000 individuals.
  • S#S#:  Indicates the range of uncertainty about exact status (e.g., S3S4).

Symbols Used for the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

  • SC         Species of Concern:  Describes the entire realm of taxa whose conservation status may be of concern to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but does not have official federal status.

ARIZONA DAMSELFLIES AND DRAGONFLIES*

*Species from Odonata Central added to AZGFD list.

SCIENTIFIC NAME

COMMON NAME

AZGFD

ESA

Aeshna interrupta

Variable Darner

S?

Aeshna palmata

Paddle-tailed Darner

S?

Aeshna persephone

Persephone’s Darner

S?

Amphiagrion abbreviatum

Western Red Damsel

S?

Amphiagrion intermediate

*

 

Anax junius

Common Green Darner

S?

Anax walsinghami

Giant Green Darner

S?

Apanisagrion lais

Black-and-white Damsel

S?

Aphylla protracta

Narrow-striped Forceptail

*

 

Archilestes californicus

California Spreadwing

S?

Archilestes grandis

Great Spreadwing

S?

Argia agrioides

California Dancer

S?

Argia alberta

Paiute Dancer

S?

Argia apicalis

Blue-fronted Dancer

*

 

Argia carlcooki

Yaqui Dancer

*

 

Argia extranea

Spine-tipped Dancer

S?

Argia fumipennis

Variable Dancer

*

 

Argia harknessi

*

 

Argia hinei

Lavender Dancer

S?

Argia immunda

Kiowa Dancer

S?

Argia lacrimans

Sierra Madre Dancer

S?

Argia lugens

Sooty Dancer

S?

Argia moesta

Powdered Dancer

S?

Argia munda

Apache Dancer

S?

Argia nahuana

Aztec Dancer

S?

Argia oenea

Fiery-eyed Dancer

S?

Argia pallens

Amethyst Dancer

S?

Argia pima

Pima Dancer

S1

Argia plana

Springwater Dancer

S?

Argia sabino

Sabino Canyon Dancer

S2

SC

Argia sedula

Blue-ringed Dancer

S?

Argia tarascana

Tarascan Dancer

S1

Argia tezpi

Tezpi Dancer

S?

Argia tonto

Tonto Dancer

S?

Argia translata

Dusky Dancer

S?

Argia vivida

Vivid Dancer

S?

Brachymesia furcata

Red-tailed Pennant

*

 

Brachymesia gravida

Four-spotted Pennant

*

 

Brechmorhoga mendax

Pale-faced Clubskimmer

S4

Brechmorhoga pertinax

Masked Clubskimmer

S1

Celithemis eponina

Halloween Pennant

*

 

Coenagrion resolutum

Taiga Bluet

S1

Cordulegaster diadema

Apache Spiketail

S3

Cordulegaster dorsalis

Pacific Spiketail

*

 

Coryphaeschna adnexa

Blue-faced Darner

*

 

Cupido (Everes) amyntula

Western Tailed-blue

S?

Cupido (Everes) comyntas

Eastern Tailed-blue

S?

Dythemis fugax

Checkered Setwing

S2

Dythemis maya

Mayan Setwing

*

 

Dythemis nigrescens

Black Setwing

S3

Dythemis velox

Swift Setwing

S1

Enallagma anna

River Bluet

S?

Enallagma annexum

Northern Bluet

S?

Enallagma basidens

Double-striped Bluet

S?

Enallagma boreale

Boreal Bluet

*

 

Enallagma carunculatum

Tule Bluet

S?

Enallagma civile

Familiar Bluet

S?

Enallagma eiseni

Baja Bluet

*

 

Enallagma novaehispaniae

Neotropical Bluet

*

 

Enallagma praevarum

Arroyo Bluet

S?

Enallagma semicirculare

Claw-tipped Bluet

S?

Erpetogomphus compositus

White-belted Ringtail

S?

Erpetogomphus crotalinus

Yellow-legged Ringtail

S?

Erpetogomphus designatus

Eastern Ringtail

S?

Erpetogomphus elaps

Straight-tipped Ringtail

*

 

Erpetogomphus lampropeltis

Serpent Ringtail

S?

Erythemis collocata

Western Pondhawk

S?

Erythemis simplicicollis

Eastern Pondhawk

S?

Erythemis vesiculosa

Great Pondhawk

S?

Erythrodiplax basifusca

Plateau Dragonlet

*

 

Erythrodiplax connata

Plateau Dragonlet

S?

Erythrodiplax funerea

Black-winged Dragonlet

S?

Hesperagrion heterodoxum

Painted Damsel

S?

Hetaerina americana

American Rubyspot

*

 

Hetaerina titia

Smoky Rubyspot

*

 

Hetaerina vulnerata

Canyon Rubyspot

*

 

Ischnura barberi

Desert Forktail

S?

Ischnura cervula

Pacific Forktail

S?

Ischnura damula

Plains Forktail

S?

Ischnura demorsa

Mexican Forktail

S?

Ischnura denticollis

Black-fronted Forktail

S?

Ischnura hastata

Citrine Forktail

S?

Ischnura perparva

Western Forktail

S?

Ischnura ramburii

Rambur’s Forktail

S?

Lestes alacer

Plateau Spreadwing

S?

Lestes congener

Spotted Spreadwing

S?

Lestes disjunctus

Northern Spreadwing

S?

Lestes dryas

Emerald Spreadwing

S?

Lestes sigma

Chalky Spreadwing

*

 

Libellula comanche

Comanche Skimmer

S3S4

Libellula composita

Bleached Skimmer

S1

Libellula croceipennis

Neon Skimmer

S5

Libellula forensis

Eight-spotted Skimmer

S3

Libellula luctuosa

Widow Skimmer

S4

Libellula nodisticta

Hoary Skimmer

S3

Libellula pulchella

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

S5

Libellula quadrimaculata

Four-spotted Skimmer

S4

Libellula saturata

Flame Skimmer

S5

Macrodiplax balteata

Marl Pennant

S?

Macromia magnifica

Western River Cruiser

S?

Macrothemis inacuta

Slender Sylph

S?

Macrothemis pseudimitans

White-tailed Sylph

*

 

Ophiogomphus arizonicus

Arizona Snaketail

S3S4

Oplonaeschna armata

Riffle Darner

S?

Orthemis discolor

Carmine Skimmer

*

 

Orthemis ferruginea

Roseate Skimmer

*

 

Pachydiplax longipennis

Blue Dasher

S?

Palaemnema domina

Desert Shadowdamsel

S1

Paltothemis lineatipes

Red Rock Skimmer

S?

Pantala flavescens

Wandering Glider

S?

Pantala hymenaea

Spot-winged Glider

S?

Perithemis domitia

Slough Amberwing

S?

Perithemis intensa

Mexican Amberwing

S?

Perithemis tenera

Eastern Amberwing

S?

Plathemis lydia

Common Whitetail

S?

Plathemis subornata

Desert Whitetail

S?

Progomphus borealis

Gray Sanddragon

S?

Pseudoleon superbus

Filigree Skimmer

S?

Remartinia luteipennis

Malachite Darner

S2

Rhionaeschna californica

California Darner

*

 

Rhionaeschna dugesi

Arroyo Darner

S1

Rhionaeschna multicolor

Blue-eyed Darner

S5

Rhionaeschna psilus

Turquoise-tipped Darner

S3

Stylurus intricatus

Brimstone Clubtail

S1

Stylurus plagiatus

Russet-tipped Clubtail

S3

Sympetrum corruptum

Variegated Meadowhawk

S5

Sympetrum danae

Black Meadowhawk

*

 

Sympetrum illotum

Cardinal Meadowhawk

*

 

Sympetrum pallipes

Striped Meadowhawk

S4

Sympetrum semicinctum

Band-winged Meadowhawk

S2

Sympetrum signiferum

Spot-winged Meadowhawk

S2

Sympetrum vicinum

Autumn Meadowhawk

*

 

Telebasis salva

Desert Firetail

S?

Tramea binotata

Sooty Saddlebags

*

 

Tramea calverti

Striped Saddlebags

*

 

Tramea lacerata

Black Saddlebags

S?

Tramea onusta

Red Saddlebags

S?

5 thoughts on “Arizona Damselfly and Dragonfly Conservation Update

  1. Pingback: Arizona Wildlife in Danger | The Blog Farm

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