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rainbow bluet

rainbow bluet (Enallagma antennatum) [female] [male]
Photos © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The most colorful and distinct damselfly in its genus, the rainbow bluet is aptly named. They have orange face and a narrow bright blue line on the top of their head behind their eyes. Males have a kaleidoscope-eyes, orange in front, green behind, and yellow below; while females’ eyes are brown above and yellow below. The thorax bears yellow legs and is dark metallic green on top with a yellow stripe, and blueish green below. The abdomen is dark metallic green on top and the underside is blue green, ending in a blue tip. They can be mistaken for the stream (Enallagma exsulans) and turquoise bluets (Enallagma divagans), but are distinguished by their orange face and differences in the ratio of metallic green to blue on the abdomen. They are about one inch long.

They occupy the skies near ponds, and slow streams and rivers with abundant emergent vegetation. They can be seen in all but the southeast quarter of the state from May to August. Males are often seen perching on stems of plants near the water. The male joins the female while depositing their eggs, which are either lain on grass at the waters’ surface or up to a foot below the surface of the water.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native