Apache vs Spine-tipped vs Springwater Dancers

The Springwater Dancer in Arizona has a wide distribution and has been recorded in most counties. It resembles two species - the Apache and Spine-tipped Dancers - with a more restricted distribution and with which it can be found at a same location, especially in the South half of the state. Separating mature males of the three species in the field requires examination of the thorax and abdomen.

Male Comparison


  • Apache Dancer: thin median and humeral black stripes; conspicuous pale line on side of thorax
  • Spine-tipped Dancer: lower half of humeral stripe forms an elongated black rectangle
  • Springwater Dancer: thin black humeral stripe widens, but does not form a rectangle at its lower end.

Abdominal segment 2

  • Apache Dancer: segment 2 has small black dorsolateral spot
  • Spine-tipped Dancer: segment 2 has a characteristic black saddle-shaped bilateral mark
  • Springwater Dancer: segment 2 has an elongated black bilateral mark that widens posteriorly, but is not saddle-shaped.

Other abdominal segments

  • Apache Dancer: segments 8 and 9 entirely blue
  • Spine-tipped Dancer: segments 8 and 9 have a black lateral stripe
  • Springwater Dancer: segments 8 and 9 are entirely blue.

Appendage shape

  • Also note the difference between species in appendage shape.

Lateral views of the head/thorax/first abdominal segments and of the last abdominal segments and appendages of the male Apache, Spine-tipped, and Springwater Dancers, AZ.