Argia is a genus of damselflies of the family Coenagrionidae and of the subfamily Argiinae. It is a diverse genus which contains about 114 species and many more to be described. It is also the largest genus in Argiinae. They are found in the Western Hemisphere. They are commonly known as dancers. Although the genus name comes from Ancient Greek: ἀργία, romanizedargia, lit. 'laziness',[1] dancers are quite active and alert damselflies. The bluer Argia species may be confused with Enallagma species.

Temporal range: Miocene–Present
Argia anceps.jpg
Argia anceps
Scientific classification

Rambur, 1842


This genus of damselflies are known as dancers because of the distinctive jerky form of flight they use which contrasts with the straightforward direct flight of bluets, forktails and other pond damselflies. They are usually to be seen in the open where they catch flying insects on the wing rather than flying about among vegetation picking off sedentary prey items. They tend to land and perch flat on the ground, logs and rocks.[2] When perched, they usually hold their wing slightly raised above the abdomen.[3]

The males of most species are some combination of black and blue but they can easily be told from similarly coloured bluets by their mode of flight. Some species have red eyes and others a copper-coloured thorax. Many species have humeral stripes, either notched or forked at the end or narrowed in the centre. The wings have short petioles and are relatively broad close to the base.[2] Unlike most of the Coenagrionidae, dancers are often associated with flowing water.[3]

Amber-winged dancer
Argia adamsi male
Azure dancer
Argia fissa male
Azure dancer
Argia fissa female
Black-and-purple dancer
Argia oculata, male purple form
Argia vivida


The genus includes the following species:

Additionally a fossil member of this genus is known from the Miocene Mexican amber[6]


  1. ^ "Greek Dictionary Headword Search Results". Perseus Project. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b Paulson, Dennis (2009). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West. Princeton University Press. pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-1-4008-3294-1.
  3. ^ a b Eaton, Kaufman & Bowers (2007). Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. HMH. ISBN 978-0-618-15310-7.
  4. ^ von Ellenrieder, N. (2009). "Argia huanacina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009: e.T159102A5313103. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T159102A5313103.en. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  5. ^ Paulson, D. R. (2009). "Argia westfalli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009: e.T164974A5949503. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T164974A5949503.en. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  6. ^ Zheng, Daran; Nel, André; Jarzembowski, Edmund A.; Chang, Su-Chin; Zhang, Haichun; Wang, Bo (2019-01-02). "Exceptionally well-preserved dragonflies (Insecta: Odonata) in Mexican amber". Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. 43 (1): 157–164. doi:10.1080/03115518.2018.1456562. ISSN 0311-5518.