Other Flying Objects: Familiar Bluet

By josh • 251 Birds, Wildlife • 1 Aug 2014

In our neighborhood there are several species of Enallagma bluets (damselflies) that are pretty tough to distinguish in the field without capturing them and using a hand lens to inspect their reproductive bits.  My lunchtime rambles don’t usually involve that level of commitment, so I was pleased to find that the male Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile) is one that has some good field marks that will differentiate it with a decent look.

Familiar Bluet

Familiar Bluet
University Heights, Burlington, Vermont
July, 2014
Canon 100mm f/2.8 at f/8, 1/200s, ISO320

The main way to distinguish Familiar Bluet from the very similar Boreal, Northern, Marsh, Hagan’s, and Vernal Bluets by the triangular upper appendages (cerci) that extend beyond the lower appendages (paraprocts).  The cerci are pretty easily seen in this image, especially if you click to view it larger, but it’s important to remember that these things are less than 3 cm in length, so it can be difficult to see with the naked eye.  The other good field marks are also subtle, but you can make them out in this photo.  The black spot on the first segment (S2) of the abdomen (closest to the base of the wings) touches the black line separating it from S3, and the black on the last segment (S10) is quite high, above the cerci.

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