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It’s official: Vivid dancer damselfly is state’s insect

CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons made a lot of fourth-graders happy today when he signed into law a bill making the vivid dancer damselfly Nevada’s official state insect.

The effort to make the blue and silver insect Nevada’s favorite was led by a Beatty Elementary School class in Las Vegas. The strikingly beautiful insect resembles a dragonfly.

Three of the students in that Beatty class — Megan Anders, Ryan Underwood and Lexie Aranchibia — testified during legislative hearings.

With Gibbons’ signature on Senate Bill 166, Nevada becomes the 43rd state with an official insect. The bill earlier was approved unanimously by both the Assembly and Senate.

During hearings, legislators joked that the barfly, the mosquito or the “lobbyist” should have been named the official insect.

At one hearing, Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, displayed photos of “older” damselflies that had faces that looked like Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, and Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson. The two legislators sponsored the bill.

They had learned last year that Nevada did not have a state insect and decided a contest should be held among schoolchildren to pick one.

More than 70 nominations and essays were sent in by 57 fourth-grade classes across the state. A group of educators and scientists selected the damselfly.

At a hearing, Beatty fourth-grade teacher David Slater said he was surprised to find that seven of his students went home and immediately began research on Nevada insects after he told them of the contest.

The students told legislators they liked the damselfly because its colors are Nevada’s colors and that it is found throughout the state. It also eats mosquitoes.


Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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