northern bluet

(Enallagma annexum)

Conservation Status
northern bluet
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Northern bluet is a common and widespread, early season, blue-type bluet. It occurs across North America from Quebec to Alaska south to Virginia and Baja Mexico, but is absent from the southeast and south-central United States. It is common in Minnesota. It is found from late May to mid-August in marshes, bogs, and fens, on seasonal pools in the spring, and on shallow ponds with much vegetation.

Northern bluet is a small damselfly but a medium-sized bluet. Adults are 1 to 1916 (26 to 40 mm) in length.

The thorax of the male has a broad black stripe on the upper side, a broad blue stripe each side of the middle, thin black shoulder stripes, and entirely blue sides.

The abdomen is slender and mostly blue. This is the feature that identifies this damselfly as a blue-type bluet. Abdominal segments 2 through 5 are mostly blue, 6 and 7 are mostly black, and 8 and 9 are entirely blue.

The head is black. The compound eyes are blue. Two blue spots on top of the head, one behind each eye, are very large, almost touching the eye.

The wings have a narrow, stalk-like base. They are clear except for a single dark cell (stigma) near the tip. The stigma is short and diamond-shaped.

The legs are slender and relatively short.

On the female the thorax markings are similar to the male but the pale areas are pale blue to greenish-yellow. The upper side of the abdomen is mostly black. There is often a pair of pale spots on top of abdominal segment 8.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total length: 1 to 1916 (26 to 40 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Marshes, bogs, fens, vernal pools, shallow ponds

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late May to mid-August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Northern bluet, like all bluets, is a weak flier. It will fly a short distance from vegetation to capture prey. The wings are held over the body when at rest.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female deposits eggs on the water while in tandem with the male, or inserts eggs in the submerged stems of vegetation while the male perches nearby. While doing this she may remain underwater for up to 90 minutes. The larvae spend a year underwater. Late stage (instar) larvae overwinter. Adults emerge in the spring.

 
     
 

Naiad Food

 
 

Mosquito larvae, mayfly larvae, and other aquatic fly larvae

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Tiny insects

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

18, 24, 29, 30

 
  11/29/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)  
 

Suborder

Zygoptera (damselflies)  
 

Superfamily

Coenagrionoidea  
 

Family

Coenagrionidae (narrow-winged damselflies)  
 

Genus

Enallagma (bluets)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

northern bluet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Stigma

In plants, the portion of the female part of the flower that is receptive to pollen. In Lepidoptera, an area of specialized scent scales on the forewing of some skippers, hairstreaks, and moths. In other insects, a thickened, dark, or opaque cell on the leading edge of the wing.

 

Species Status

Northern bluet was formerly included with vernal bluet as Enallagma cyathigerum. Recent research confirms that these are separate species. The two species cannot be differentiated in the field. Males are identified by microscopic examination of the genitalia. Northern bluet occurs only in North America. Vernal bluet occurs only in Europe and Asia.

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    northern bluet      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

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Other Videos
 
  Bluet Damselflies Mating ~ Belcarra Regional Park
andering Sole Images
 
   
 
About

Jun 28, 2015

Damselflies at Woodhaven Swamp in Belcarra Regional Park. The end of the video shows a couple mating.

These are most likely boreal bluets (Enallagma boreale) or northern bluets (Enallagma annexum).

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Alfredo Colon
5/30 to 6/1/2021

Location: Woodbury, MN

northern bluet  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Created: 11/29/2021

Last Updated:

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