Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Azure Bluet (Enallagma aspersum)

Just when I thought I was through finding "new" odonates for this season I had my first encounter with this distinctive damselfly on the "Trail", about a kilometer east of town. The key distinguishing features of this species are the large eyespots, relatively narrow shoulder stripes, and above all the abdomen: mostly black, but with an extensive amount of blue on S7. This is unique among our local Enallagma and really stands out in the field.

The female also has an ample amount of blue on S7 but patterned differently than the male. In fact both S7 and S8 have paired blue spots, singular field marks exhibited by no other female bluets in our area.

Azure Bluets prefer to breed in small, tranquil bodies of water such as ponds and bogs. At this time of year most of the woodland pools in this location have dried up. The nearest significant body of still water is the lagoon and likely that's where the Azure Bluets are breeding.

Update ... this damselfly is definitely a late season flier. The photo below was taken on September 16th, and judging by its bright, strong colors this female has only recently emerged.

September 19th ... more than ten females and about half as many males were observed in the same general area. A dorsal view of a male ...

... and a couple of photos of a female.