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Attenuated Bluet



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Enallagma daeckii

Calvert, 1903


Order Odonata
Suborder Zygoptera
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea
Family Coenagrionidae
Genus Enallagma
Species daeckii (Calvert, 1903) [Telagrion?]


Identification

Entire head of male, including the eyes in life, are pale blue with an intricate pattern of thin black outlines. The postocular spots are large and narrowly outlined by jagged, often incomplete black lines. The thorax is nearly all pale blue. There is a narrow black middorsal stripe reduced to thin lines on either side of the pale middorsal carina. The humeral stripe is a thin, dark line. The wings unique among the bluets, as they are petiolate out nearly as far as the anal crossing (Ac ) and Cu2 generally terminates much farther proximally than in other bluets. The legs are pale blue basally, becoming cream-colored distally with a black stripe present in varying degrees on the femora and tibiae. The tarsi are pale, armed with black spurs. The abdomen is pale blue laterally and black dorsally on segments 1-6. Therre is a dorsoapical blue ring on segment 1 and a full-length black stripe on segment 2 expanded laterally at 3/4 its apical length. Segments 3-6 each bear a lateral, apical expansion of a dorsal stripe and a pale blue basal ring. Segment 7 is black dorsally with blue on apical forth the segment and segments 8-10 are entirely blue with only a narrow black basal ring. The cerci are forked and much shorter, approximately a third the length of segment 10. Laterally, the cerci are brown, becoming darker apically, and with a broad truncate upper arm and more rounded lower arm. The paraprocts are upturned apically and only slightly longer than cerci. Females are pa le blue, green or tan, with the head and thorax similar to male, but with overall less black. The middle lobe of the pronotum lacks prominent pits. The mesostigmal plates each bear a definite posterior margin and are concave medially with their anterolateral margins expanded and slightly raised. The abdominal pattern is similar to males on segments 1-6. Segments 7-8 are entirely black dorsally except for a narrow apical pale blue ring. Segments 9-10 are generally blue, but occasionally segment 9 has a small black spot, sometimes bilobed, extending as much as half the length of the segment.

Size

Total length: 35-47 mm; abdomen: 30-40; hindwing: 19-25 mm.

Similar Species

Attenuated Bluet is easily recognizable in the field, because of its long slender body. It has a noticeably elongated abdomen that makes it the longest pond damsel in all of North America. Its nearly all pale blue head and thorax are also excellent field characters. The abdomen of Slender Bluet (E. traviatum), which also has a pale head, doesn't look unusually long and generally there is more black on top of the head. The only other damselflies with unusually long abdomens in our area are the threadtails which are all red or orange and found in the western and sourthern portions of Texas.

Habitat

Swamp margins and shady, often heavily vegetated pond, lakes and stream backwaters.

Discussion

Populations of this infrequently seen species are restricted to the eastern Austror iparian province within the south-central United States. In Texas, populations are only known from Daingerfield State Park in Morris County, Sam Houston National Forest in Montgomery and San Jacinto counties, and Boykin Springs Recreation area in the Angelina National Forest, Jasper County. Much of the bioogy of this species remains unknown. It flutters in the shade like a "ghost" among the tangled vegetation of its habitat, making it difficult to spot.

Distribution

Southeastern U.S. from Florida north to Pennsylvania west to Oklahoma and Texas.