The Azure Bluet has a fairly long and slender build. This black-and-blue or - in the case of some females - black-and-green damselfly is probably the commonest and most widely distributed of all European Bluet species, extending its range from Southern Scandinavia all the way down to the Mediterranean. Coenagrion puella's main distinguishing features include its thin but uninterrupted antehumeral stripe, the U-shaped mark on the male's S2, and the long, thin lines which run along the sides of the male's abdomen. However, the Azure Bluet can easily be confused with the less common Variable Bluet (Coenagrion pulchellum).
Note: while a typical male C. puella may be fairly easy to distinguish from a typical male C. pulchellum, atypical males of the two species may be quite tricky to tell apart. In that case it's often useful to look at the amount of black dorsally on S3, S4 and S5.
● In male C. puella the amount of dorsal black is often a constant 20% or so of the total lengths of S3, S4 and S5.
● In male C. pulchellum this amount of black tends to increase, with a minimum of about 20% on S3 to 25% on S4 to 30% on S5.
● Thus, if the amount of black dorsally on S3 is equal to that on S5, then the animal is likely to be C. puella.
● If, by contrast, the amount of black on S3 is clearly less than that on S5, then the animal is likely to be C. pulchellum.
LineDrawing: the male's head, thorax and abdomen in lateral view.
For an overview of the Azure Bluet's distribution in Europe, hover your mouse pointer over the map symbol . With the editors' permission we have based this map on data to be published in Kalkman, V. J. & J.-P. Boudot (eds.), Atlas of the Dragonflies of Europe (in prep.).
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