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marsh bluet

marsh bluet (Enallagma ebrium) [male]
Photo © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The marsh bluet is a small to medium (one to one and one-half inches long) damselfly. Males have a blue face, blue eyes with a black cap, blue stripes on a black thorax, and alternating bands of blue and black on the abdomen. Females are similar in the head and thorax but have pale green, tan, or blue markings; with black, arrow shaped marks on top of abdomen. Enallagma is a large genus and the species within are all very similar. The name “bluet” also describes species in the family Coenagrionidae. Checking species’ distribution is the simplest way to begin identification and differentiation between species. 

The marsh bluet spends most of its time hidden among aquatic plants on lakes and ponds and is rarely seen out in the open. Pairs typically mate in the early to mid-afternoon. Females deposit eggs on floating or emergent aquatic plants, descending up to one foot below the water’s surface to do so! They can be seen in flight from June to September in the northern one-quarter of the state. 

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Coenagrionidae

Illinois Status: common, native