To the beginner the above three families seem very similar in appearance,
when actually they are very different. Even the most experienced hobbyist
will at one time or another mistake a forktail
for a bluet or a dancer, or vice versa. They are best identified in
legs can play in important role in differentiating the Dancer
(Argia) group of damselflies from all other pond damsels. By
noting the size and spacing of the spines on the legs you will be able to at least
separate them from the other three groups. Hopefully this illustration will
While all three families have short legs, the Dancers (Argia)
present with long spurs on their lower leg (tibia). These spurs are twice
as long as the spaces between them. All other pond damsels have spurs about
as long as the space between them.
Spreadwings (Lestes) and
Broadwinged Damsels (Calopterygiadae) are easily
identifiable by their long spurred legs.