What Bronze and Green Damselfly Has Wings that Are Partly Red and Partly Clear?

While ambling along the Credit River in Erindale Park in Mississauga, Ontario, in mid-September, I stopped to admire some dragonflies perched along the shoreline. The solid black wings of a male Ebony Jewelwing were the first I noticed. Then I saw a flash of brilliant red and watched as another type of damselfly perched on a stalk of dried plant out over the moving water. Its body shone metallic green and bronze in the sunshine and the red part of its wings gleamed like a jewel.

Photo of American Rubyspot Credit River Erindale Park from NaturalCrooksDotCom

Looking it up at home confirmed that it was a male American Rubyspot damselfly. The “American” part refers to North America not just to the USA. According to a University of Texas website, this damsel flies almost everywhere from Canada through the US.

Was This a Male or Female American Rubyspot?

Photo of American Rubyspot twig 2 from NaturalCrooksDotCom

According to BugGuide.net, the males have a red thorax, and the females have either copper or green on the thorax.  From what I can tell, and I am not an expert!, none of the Rubyspots that I have found so far is a female. That shouldn’t be surprising: all of these males were looking for a female too and weren’t having much luck!

Photo of American Rubyspot On Curved Twig On NaturalCrooksDotCom

An article on the UW-Milwaukee Field Station website says that the females have significantly less red on the wings and that this may give them an advantage when feeding. Females marked with more red did not gain weight as quickly as those left in their original colouring.

Photo of American Rubyspot Sparkles from NaturalCrooksDotCom

How Easy Is It to Find American Rubyspots in Erindale Park?

Photo of American Rubyspot On Rock On NaturalCrooksDotCom

The second time I walked along the Credit after first identifying these colourful male damsels, I kept a look out for more. Somewhat to my surprise, at two other locations I found American Rubyspots perched on flat rocks in the river watching and waiting. They were quite exposed locations. If you look closely, you can even see a discarded fishing weight on one of the rocks.

Photo of American Rubyspot On Rock Fishing Weight On NaturalCrooksDotCom

Two other damselflies I admired were Ebony Jewelwings and some type of Spreadwing.

Photo of Ebony Jewelwing Female Sept on NaturalCrooksDotCom
A female Ebony Jewelwing.

Photo of Spreadwing on NaturalCrooksDotCom
An unknown type of Spreadwing Damselfly.

I’ll keep an eye out for more American Rubyspots as I continue my walks this fall. Unlike some damselflies, these ones fly right into the autumn season. Who knows, I may find a female yet!

Photo of American Rubyspot twig from NaturalCrooksDotCom
Male American Rubyspot

UPDATE: Two weeks after I saw my first known Rubyspots, I finally found a female! It didn’t stay still long so I didn’t get a good photo in the heavily overcast afternoon. But I did see her and I have this photo as proof. I’ll keep trying for a better image of course.

Photo of American Rubyspot Female Erindale Park Mississauga On NaturalCrooksDotCom
This female American Rubyspot has “amber” wings that are pinkish near the shoulders, yellow lines on the thorax and a green bit, and a bit of bronzy-green to the abdomen.

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