Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Citrine Forktail

Ischnura hastata

Say, 1839

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The Citrine Forktail male is easy to recognize because of its small size and color. The thorax is black on the front, with a narrow green shoulder stripe and green sides. The abdomen is yellow with black markings. The forewing stigma is red, teardrop shaped and twice the size of the brown hindwing stigma. The Citrine Forktail is the only damsel in the world in which the forewing stigma does not touch the front edge of the wing. Young females are bright orange but become olive green as they age.

This is a southern transcontinental species with Nebraska at the extreme northwestern edge of the range. It has only been recorded in the southern half of the state out to Custer and Lincoln counties. This tiny yellow species is abundant and reliable for many years at some sites, but rare at others or common for only a year before vanishing. It is frequently found in small seasonal ponds and particularly in the thick stands ofvery short reeds at pond edges. A typical site is a shallow, possibly drying up, cattle pond. There are only two records before 2005,possibly due to its small size and the difficulty of finding itwithout a deliberate targeted search.

Citrine Forktail
Citrine Forktail male

Size: 20-27 mm (0.8-1.1 in)

Habitat: ponds and lakes in dense emergent vegetation

Great Plains Range: TX, OK, KS, NE, NM, CO, MO, IA

Flight season: late June to early September

Citrine Forktail map

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

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