E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Argia emma
Emma's Dancer
Family: Coenagrionidae
Species account author: Robert Cannings.
Extracted from Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002)

Photo of species

© Ian Lane  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #1458)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Argia emma in British Columbia
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Species Information


Male is violet; female is normally brown. The top of the thorax has a narrow black stripe less than half as wide as adjacent pale stripes. Length: ♂ 36 mm, ♀ 37 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., early June to late September.

Genus Description

The largest pond damsels in B.C. Males are blue or violet, with black markings; females are the same, or olive and brown. Dancers usually develop in streams. Adults like to rest on bare sunny spots by the water. Larvae are stocky and squat, their gills unusually broad and pigmented. Adult dancers can be distinguised from bluets by isolated black marks on the sides of the abdominal segments and by a short black stripe on the side of the thorax, which narrows in the middle. The female has no vulvar spine in front of the ovipositor.


Family Description

Small damselflies that normally perch with wings closed above the abdomen. Most males are blue marked with black, but the main colour may be green, yellow, orange, red or purple. Females often have two colour forms per species, one similar to the male (usually blue). Females lay eggs in the tissues of water plants, sometimes completely submerging themselves for a long time while laying. Larave are not as long as spreadwing larave and have short labia, unstalked at the base. There are six genera and 18 species of pond damsels in our region. The American Bluets (Enallagma) and forktails (Ischnura) are the most common groups.
Field Notes

Common at scattered localities along rivers, creeks and sometimes, wave-washed lake beaches. The larvae lurk in debris and among plant stems in creek pools and under rocks in riffles.


Montane. In southern B.C., from the Fraser Valley to the Shuswap and Kettle River regions.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS3S4BlueNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2023-10-01 9:16:04 AM]
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