American vs Canyon Rubyspot

Two rubyspot species (Hetaerina sp.) are commonly found in appropriate habitats in Arizona: the American Rubyspot and the Canyon Rubyspot. The two species can be found at the same time and at a same location, but in Arizona only the American Rubyspot is normally present at low elevation sites. To separate mature MALESof the two species in the field, focus on the wing pattern, the abdomen color, and in the hand, the shape of appendages:

To separate mature FEMALES of the two species, focus on the wing pattern (as in males) and thorax color (see composite picture below):

Male Comparison

Wing pattern (also applies to females)

  • American Rubyspot: pale stigma that can, however, be small and rather inconspicuous. Wings tips areclear.
  • Canyon Rubyspot: no stigma. Wing tips pale brown

Wing tips of the American Rubyspot (female, West Pond, Imperial, CA, 15 July 2010) and Canyon Rubyspot (female, Seven Springs, Maricopa, AZ, 10 July 2010)

Abdomen color

  • American Rubyspot: dark with green iridescence
  • Canyon Rubyspot: also dark, but generally not iridescent


  • American Rubyspot: medial side of cerci has one or two “teeth” and looks bumpy
  • Canyon Rubyspot: medial side of cerci lacks “teeth” and is smoothly curved

Lateral views of the male appendages of the American and Canyon Rubyspots, AZ.

Female Comparison

Thorax color

  • American Rubyspot: front of thorax often reddish; relatively narrow pale antehumeral stripe
  • Canyon Rubyspot: front of thorax generally metallic green; wide pale antehumeral stripe.

Lateral views of the head and thorax of the American and Canyon Rubyspots, AZ.