Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Division of Entomology

Desert Forktail

Ischnura barberi

Currie, 1903

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The male Desert Forktail has a greenish face and a blue-green thorax with a yellow shoulder stripe. Abdominal segments are black and orange, with the tip (segments 8-10) blue. Females are paler than males, but have similar markings.

This is a southwestern species just reaching southern Kansas with adisjunct population in Lancaster County, Nebraska, 200 miles to thenorth and east. The first record for Nebraska was a largepopulation found in 1937 at Capitol Beach in Lincoln. The specieswas thought to be extirpated but was rediscovered in 2000 and is abundant at several sites in the city. A good accessible site, Dakota Springs, is near exit 403 off I-80. The best site may be the ditches along I-80 at Capitol Beach, but they are not easily accessible. All sites are associated with highly alkaline streams. At Dakota Springs a tiny stream with very saline water flows in a deep ditch through grassy fields. Very few individuals of any other species are here but Desert Forktail is abundant.It has not yet been found at other saline sites in Nebraska.

Desert Forktail

Size: 27-35 mm (1.0-1.4 in)

Habitat: alkaline or saline streams

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, NM

Flight season: mid May to mid September

Desert Forktail map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.


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