Common Name: Vesper Bluet.
Scientific Name: Enallagma Vesperum.
What to look for? A flying insect towing a long stick! The Vesper Bluet is a pale, elongated damselfly. The male is mostly yellow on the eyes, face, thorax, and legs. It has a mostly black, 10-segment abdomen. Segment 9 is all bright blue and segment 10 is blue on the side and black on the top. The female is green on the thorax with a brownish shoulder stripe. Her eyes are a pale green, and the legs are yellow. The abdomen is mostly black on the top with segment 9 being partially light blue and segment 10 entirely light blue. Both sexes have clear fore-wings and hind-wings.
Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? While uncommonly seen, the Vesper Bluet may be spotted during summer – but only near or after twilight. Look for them around the floating plants on our pond and the reeds around our pond banks.
How big are they? The Vesper Bluet averages approximately one and three-tenths (1.3) inches in length with the abdomen just over one (1) inch of that length. And their wingspan is approximately three-quarters (0.75) of an inch.
What are their flight patterns? The Vesper Bluet is an agile flyer and will fly low over the surface of the pond.
How else do they behave? The Vesper Bluet is crepuscular, or active only in the twilight and evening hours. Male Vesper Bluets are territorial, perching on the floating vegetation they want to protect and confronting intruders in the air.
What’s for dinner? The Vesper Bluet dines on tiny flying insects.
Where do they take up residence? The Vesper Bluet resides across most of the Great Plains and eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. Their primary habitat are ponds and small lakes with lots of floating vegetation.
When and where do they breed and nest? Pairs of Vesper Bluet usually leave the water for a short period of time to mate. Egg laying occurs in tandem. When ovipositing, the female may climb down a stem to completely submerge herself while the male stands guard above. The female oviposits in stems and other vegetation lying just below the surface.
Where do they migrate? No.
What is their conservation status? No concern.
Do they make any interesting sounds? No.
Interesting Facts About the Vesper Bluet (and damselflies compared dragonflies):
The common (Vesper) and scientific (Vesperum) names reference late evening vesper prayers, alluding to its frequent crepuscular or twilight activity.
There are more than 17 species of Bluets.
Dragonflies and damselflies, like cockroaches, are two of the oldest insect groups. During prehistoric times, they were supposedly as big as hawks.
There are four details that distinguish a dragonfly from a damselfly: (1) eyes, (2) body shape and size, (3) wing shape and size, and (4) position of the wings at rest.
(1) Eyes: Dragonfly are broadly rounded and lie mostly flat against the head; whereas, Damselfly are largely spherical and protrude off the sides of the head.
(2) Body Shape and Size: Dragonfly has broader thorax than abdomen; whereas, Damselfly have narrower thorax and abdomen with each the same width; Dragonfly is generally larger than Damselfly.
(3) Wing Shape and Size: Dragonfly has forewings and hindwings of different shapes and sizes; whereas, Damselfly has forewings and hindwings of same shapes and sizes.
(4) Position of the Wings at Rest: Dragonfly rests wings flat or parallel to the ground and to the side of its body; whereas, Damselfly rests its wings straight up and pressed together over the top of its body.
For more information on the Vesper Bluet and sources of information used in this blog (these are the several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Iowa State University Bug Guide, Fontenelle Forest Nature Search, Odonata Central, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Bug Lady, and Maryland Biodiversity Project.
The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.
Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!