New York Natural Heritage Program
Scarlet Bluet
Enallagma pictum Morse, 1895

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Most Enallagmas are blue, but E. pictum is orange-red in color (Carpenter, 1991). Males have red faces and a narrow, red band behind the eyes. The thorax is red with black shoulder stripes and the abdomen is black above and orange or buff below (Nikula et al. 2003). Females have similar black patterning to males, but instead of red, pale areas are dull yellow (Lam 2004).
Scarlet Bluet Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
In New York, most records were documented in mid-July both before and during the NYDDS (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011) and the species is known to fly in New York from June 17 through July 27 (Donnelly 1999). New Jersey flight dates are from mid-May to mid-September (Bangma & Barlow 2010) and at their northern range extent, they are known to fly in Maine from early July to late August (Brunelle & deMaynadier 2005).
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Scarlet Bluet present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis)
    Immature female Eastern Forktails are orange, but have narrower black shoulder stripes and larger spots behind the eyes than Scarlet Bluets (Lam 2004).
  • Lilypad Forktail (Ischnura kellicotti)
    (Immature female Lilypad Forktails are red or orange, but have red or orange on abdominal segments 8-10, while Scarlet Bluets do not (Nikula et al. 2003, Lam 2004). Lilypad Forktails also have larger spots behind the eyes than Scarlet Bluets (Nikula et al. 2003).
  • Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum)
    Orange Bluets are orange on abdominal segment 9 and they are not as red overall as Scarlet Bluets (Nikula et al. 2003).
  • Eastern Red Damsel (Amphiagrion saucium)
    Eastern Red Damsels have mostly red abdomens and no narrow red band behind the eyes (Nikula et al. 2003, Lam 2004).