The vivid dancer (Argia vivida) is a small to medium sized damselfly belonging to the group known as “pond damsels”. The bright blue male has black bands on his abdomen, a thick black stripe atop the thorax and black stripes on the sides of his thorax. The side stripes are broken or thin midlength while the top stripe is urn shaped, wide at the top and narrower toward the abdomen. The female resembles the male except her coloration is dull tan to chalky white. Some females mimic the male and are a dull blue color. (Someday female damselfly coloration will need to be the topic of another post.) When temperatures are cooler the blue color becomes more purplish. Vivid dancers strongly resemble northern bluets (Enallagma annexum). The vivid dancer is identified by backward pointing triangles between the black stripes on the middle abdomen. Northern bluets do not have these triangles. (See “Northern Bluet” 07-31-12)
Vivid dancers are found along streams and ponds, particularly spring-fed ones in arid and semi-arid regions throughout British Columbia and Alberta south to Texas, New Mexico and Baja California.
Adult vivid dancers eat a variety of soft-bodied insects including flies, mosquitoes, small moths and mayflies and occasionally will take aphids from plants. Their larvae feed on aquatic insects.
In 2009 the vivid dancer was designated the Nevada State Insect.
These vivid dancers were photographed along Ash Creek (Lassen County CA) – the male in Dan Ryan Meadow and the female near the Lower Campground.