Length: 19-28 mm
The Skimming Bluet is one of the smaller bluets found in West Virginia, measuring about one inch in length. Its common name comes from its habit of flying very low over water.
This damsel is often found perched horizontally on lily pads or cattail leaves. The abdomen of male Skimming Bluets has the final segment (segment 10) all black. Segments 8 and 9 are entirely blue on top. Eyespots are small, blue, and tear-drop shaped.
The most important identifying characteristic is a certain shape of blue spot on abdominal segment 2 (this segment is near where the abdomen joins the thorax). This spot has been described as "wavy-sided" or "hourglass shaped." It isn't easy to see in the field, but a good macro lens or a pair of binoculars may make it easier to see.
Viewed from above, the male Skimming Bluet has an abdomen mostly black in the middle, with some thin blue rings. Females, on the other hand, lack these blue rings, and have abdomens that are most black when viewed from above. Females have a pair of blue spots on the top of segment 8. Occasionally this pair of spots is fused into a single spot.
You'll find Skimming Bluets along slow-moving streams and at well-vegetated ponds and lakes. As far as its abundance in West Virginia, it is neither especially common nor rare, but somewhere in between.
|As in the dorsal view, when viewed from the side segments 8 and 9 are blue while segment 10 is black. This Skimming Bluet has some parasitic mites attached near the rear of the abdomen.|