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orange bluet

orange bluet (Enallagma signatum) [female] [male]
Photo © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The orange bluet is a small (one to one and one-half inches), slender, orange bluet. Males and females of this species have very different appearances (sexual dimorphism). Females have blue eyes with brown caps; a blue-green thorax with black stripes; and a blue-green abdomen with a black-stripe down the top, blue-green bands separating each segment, and a blue tip. Immature males look the same but but have blue eyes with dark blue caps and are brighter blue overall. Males change color with age and have bright orange eyes; an orange thorax with small black stripes; and a mostly black abdomen with bands of orange separating each segment, that ends in an orange tip. Enallagma is the largest North American genus and there are several very similar looking species that occur in Illinois.

This damselfly occupies the sky near slow streams and lakes and has a strong association with water lilies. They are most active near dusk. After hatching from larvae, winged adults mature in 12 days and live for about three weeks. Males and pairs can be seen flying together around grasses near the water, especially on cloudy days. After copulation, the male accompanies the female depositing eggs. She does so in water lilies, grass, or on bog mats, and may submerge below the surface of the water for 10 to 20 minutes to do so. They can be seen statewide from May to October. 

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native