Blue-fronted vs. Powdered Dancer

Mature male Powdered and Blue-fronted Dancers are readily separated based on thorax and abdomen coloration, but identification of females of these species can be challenging.

In both species, females are polymorphic, including a predominantly light brown/tan morph and a blue morph (see pictures below). When seen together for direct comparison, note the size difference, with Powdered Dancers being markedly larger (average length: 40 mm) than Blue-fronted Dancers (average length: 37 mm). When direct comparison is not possible, closely examine the thorax and especially the last abdominal segments.

 

Female Comparison

Thorax:

Blue-fronted Dancer: Narrow black middorsal stripe. Humeral stripe usually very thin, but some females have an incomplete and rather diffuse dark humeral stripe.

 

Powdered Dancer: Narrow black middorsal stripe. Most females lack humeral stripes. However, females of some populations (e.g., N. Florida, see picture below) have a thick black middorsal stripe and a conspicuous, deeply forked black humeral stripe).

Terminal abdominal segments:

Blue-fronted Dancer: Abdominal segments 8-10 dark dorsally. Segment 9 has a dark ventrolateral stripe such that in lateral view, the tip of the abdomen appears striped.

 

Powdered Dancer: Most females lack a brown ventrolateral stripe on segment 9. Thus, when viewed laterally, the abdomen tip looks pale rather than striped.




Powdered Dancer, Blue morph female, Northern Florida, May 2019

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