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Ischnura hastata

• Scientific name: Ischnura hastata (Say, 1839)
• English name: Citrine Forktail
• German name: Rätselhafte Pechlibelle
• French name: N/A
• Dutch name: Geel lantaarntje
• Swedish name: N/A
• Norwegian name: N/A
• Finnish name: N/A
• Danish name: N/A
• Italian name: N/A
• Czech name: N/A
• Slovenian name: N/A
• Bulgarian name: N/A
• Typical length: 20-27 mm
• Hindwing: 11-15 mm

Ischnura hastata

Distribution map

Map data based on J.-P. Boudot & V. J. Kalkman (eds.),
Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies

The tiny Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata) is an American species which is distributed widely from southern Canada, throughout the USA, and into Mexico and Central and South-America. Its presence in Europe is limited to an all-female population on the Portuguese islands of the Azores, some 1,400 kilometres off the Portuguese west coast. It is the smallest damselfly species in the USA (and in Europe), measuring only 20-27 mm.
Immature females are a bright orange colour with black on the head, the top of the thorax, and abdominal segments 6-8. As they mature, the black colouration on the abdomen increases and the orange colour is gradually replaced by (an olivaceous) green or grey. Old females develop a light pruinescence on the thorax and abdomen. Unusually for an Ischnura species, there are no androchrome females.
Males have a greenish thorax and bright yellow abdomen, again with black markings on the head, thorax and abdominal segments 1-7. The last three segments are completely yellow (hence the 'citrine' in the species' common name) and S10 carries a prominent upright projection, which is notched (hence the 'forktail' and indeed the specific name 'hastata', meaning 'armed with a spear').
Apart from its diminutive size, there are two aspects which render Ischnura hastata unique among the world's odonates:

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