Click on thumbnails to see full-sized photo!
Desert Forktail
Ischnura barberi

Desert Forktail at Shrimp Farm n. of Dateland

Male & female in "wheel"

New River Wetlands

A composite comparing Rambur's and Desert Forktails

We do not want to oversimplify the identification of the Forktails (Ischnura) occurring in the southwest!  The best way to positively identify them is "in-hand" with a 10x or better lense.  Close examination of details with binoculars is helpful.  Western Forktail (I. perparva) is similar and it's range is close to us in SE CA and SW AZ.  Mexican Forktail (I. demorsa) is also similar. (not sure of it's range).  

Desert Forktail is very similar to Rambur's Forktail, but with "teardrop" eye spots, thicker pale lines on the side of the thorax and the tops of the middle abdominal segments are more patterned.  They can be found at the New River Wetlands sites but are not as common there as Rambur's.  We find them near marshes and smaller canals (not large fast water), especially near the Salton Sea, that have short vegetation growing close to or overhanging the waters edge.

Last updated
Sep 8, 2003