Can somebody identify this damselfly? Found near a stream about 15 miles west of Boston.enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I would have called that a Blue Darner, but apparently that's been a local Missouri name and not a real name this whole time, so I don't know what the real name would be. It was even called Blue Darner on the official FFA entomology exams. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jul 6, 2016 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ It be an Argia anceps, but the shade of blue is a little off. The pattern of black marks looks close though. Wikipedia points out that many damselfly species have very similar appearances. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jul 6, 2016 at 9:25
  • $\begingroup$ @user137 is it September 19th already? $\endgroup$
    – arboviral
    Jul 8, 2016 at 8:20
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    $\begingroup$ @arboviral You mean you don't talk like that every day? $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jul 8, 2016 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ Just got word from a biologist from State of Mass......“Violet Dancer” (Argia fumipennis) $\endgroup$
    – SMC
    Jul 8, 2016 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


It looks to me like a male Argia fumipennis violacea

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    $\begingroup$ Some additional details, reason(s) for why you think it's a male, and an embedded image would be good to see in your answer. +1 if you can do this. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user22020
    Sep 8, 2017 at 14:31

The damselfly in question belongs to the subspecies Argia fumipennis violacea. The species as a whole are referred to as variable dancers, however, this subspecies most commonly goes by "violet dancer".

As mentioned in another answer, this is in fact a male, which is most easily observed by the overall purple body color, as well as the blue accenting on the end segments of the abdomen. In contrast, a female will have a brown body color; both male & female have wild black markings throughout the abdomen, and transparent wings. Consider the following for comparison.

enter image description here Female on left; male on right.

And then, a general image to match the one you provided:

enter image description here

Found near a stream about 15 miles west of Boston.

Differing from most other genera within the family Coenagrionidae, dancers are generally found along moving water, so this sounds spot on. They seem to live quite comfortably around your area, however, according to this illustration, they aren't well documented within MA itself.

enter image description here (Source)


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