The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
Home Page Search Odonate Resources
LoginNC Biodiversity ProjectComments

North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

«      »

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in COENAGRIONIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 2

PDF has more details,
e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
[View PDF]
Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis) by John Petranka
Compare with: Furtive Forktail   Rambur's Forktail  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

[Google images]     [Global Biodiversity Information Facility]      iNaturalist
Click on county for list of all its records for Eastern Forktail
Flight Charts
Distribution Throughout the mountains and the northern half of the Piedmont, including most of the foothills counties. Ranges southeast to Halifax, Nash, and Wake counties. The only record for the southeastern Piedmont is for Stanly County. Interestingly, it is reported in many Coastal Plain counties in SC, though Paulson (2011) states "occurrence in coastal South Carolina is in question", as there are no Coastal Plain records for NC or for GA.
Abundance Common to very common over most or all of the mountains. Uncommon to fairly common in the extreme upper Piedmont (foothills), but rare to locally uncommon eastward in the Piedmont portion of the range, with disturbingly few recent records, all seemingly just sight reports and thus open to question. (There are no uploaded photos to this website eastward of Wilkes and Burke counties.) Whether it is truly absent in the southeastern Piedmont is uncertain.
Flight In the mountains, it occurs from mid-March to early November. The Piedmont flight is from early April to late September, but it likely occurs in late March and well into October or early November (as it does so in the cooler mountains).
Habitat Lakes, ponds, and slower streams, where there is vegetation along the margins.
Behavior Males behave like most other forktails, moving slowly low along the margins of ponds and lakes. As with those -- Citrine, Fragile, and Rambur's -- they might be difficult to spot if they were not common to abundant at these water bodies!
Comments This is one of the relatively few damselflies that is clearly more common in the mountains than downstate. In fact, we lack records for just two of the 17 counties wholly within the mountain province. The scarcity of recent records from the Piedmont suggests a decline there, but it is too early to be truly concerned, as there are five recent records from Wake County (though all at a single site), at the eastern edge of the range. There seem to be few people looking for damselflies, especially around lake and pond margins, in most of the Piedmont; most biologists in this province look for odonates along rivers and creeks.
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-18 17:37:58

Photo Gallery for Eastern Forktail   27 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent, Audrey Whitlock

Comment: Ashe, 2024-06-12, - Pond Mountain eastern pond; photo by Audrey Whitlock
Photo 2 by: Harry LeGrand

Comment: Alleghany, 2022-06-14, various sites in Alleghany County - Little Glade Millpond (Blue Ridge Parkway)
Photo 3 by: P Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2022-03-31,
Photo 4 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-04-09, Hot Springs area
Photo 5 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-09-28, Hot Springs area
Photo 6 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-08-12, Pond at Wolf Laurel exit, I-26
Photo 7 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-08-01, Pond at Wolf Laurel exit on I-26
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Mitchell, 2019-05-16, Living Waters Campground, Glen Ayre. - abundant at ponds. Many ovipositing females.
Photo 9 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Avery, 2018-07-29, Mill pond on the Elk River; Banner Elk
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2018-05-27, Lowe's River Edge Park-retention pond
Photo 12 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2017-04-28, Meat Camp Creek ESA - common for the first time this year
Photo 13 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Alleghany, 2015-07-13, Little Glade Millpond, along Blue Ridge Parkway about 0.5 mi. south of US 21 at Mile Marker 230 - Males.
Photo 14 by: Curtis Smalling; Harry LeGrand

Comment: Watauga, 2012-06-19, at private pond
Photo 15 by: Curtis Smalling; Harry LeGrand

Comment: Watauga, 2012-06-19, at private pond
Photo 16 by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton, Gail Lankford, Janie Owen

Comment: Madison, 2012-04-28, Max Patch, Pisgah National Forest - Male & Female
Photo 17 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2012-03-30, Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
Photo 18 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Transylvania, 2011-08-19, Brevard - Male & Female
Photo 19 by: Chelsea Rath

Comment: Burke; M, 2011-07-28, Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo 20 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Haywood, 2011-06-08, imaged at Lake Junaluska and seen at Haywood Community College - Male & Female
Photo 21 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2011-05-19, drainage pond at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary - many individual Males & Females
Photo 22 by: Mark Swanson

Comment: Avery, 2010-08-31 - Mating pair photographed near Land Harbors Lake.
Photo 23 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2010-05-28, Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area
Photo 24 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2010-05-15, Imaged at Fletcher Park at pond
Photo 25 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe, 2006-08-05, female
Photo 26 by: Ted WIlcox

Comment: Ashe, 2005-05-26, immature female
Photo 27 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe, 2004-06-30, male