Sooty Dancer

Sooty dancers (Argia lugens) are usually found near moving water. They perch on rocks, driftwood, branches or the ground. I found these specimens sitting on scrap wood at a friends’ house near the Pit River north of Lookout CA (Modoc County).

Like all members of the “Dancer Group” of damselflies, sooty dancers have long leg spines. Unlike most dancers, sooty dancers do not have blue at the end of the abdomen. Mature male sooty dancers look dark or black because of the sooty pruinescence (powdery covering) that develops over their body. Under the pruinescence there is a pattern of buff and black markings which can be seen at close range or in young individuals. Females have buff and black markings. The markings on some sooty dancer females are blue and black. Very confusing to amateurs like me. Sooty dancers have buff rings around each abdominal segment. The wings are clear with dark veins and pale stigma (rectangular, thickened area of wing near the front edge).

In the photographs the buffy coloration of the females or young sooty dancers appears almost white, however, that was due to the lighting and my imperfect photographic skills.

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