The bluets form a group of about 17 similar species in Wisconsin in which the males usually share the characteristics of having blue and black stripes on the thorax, and blue and black markings on the abdomen. In-hand examinations are usually needed to identify them, although they can be grouped into subcategories based on the amount of black showing on the abdomen. Males are easily identified, under magnification, by the shape of their terminal appendages. Females are generally duller than males, and they are more difficult to identify, which is accomplished by subtle differences in the shape of the mesostigmal plates on the top of the thorax. Generally, males are bright blue while the females are green or yellow-green or blue. There are some species that are yellow-orange, a mix of various colors, or black with some blue.
The male of this species is a blue-type bluet because of its predominantly blue abdomen. In the field, the familiar bluet is similar to the tule bluet, northern bluet, and boreal bluet. The body length varies from 1.1 to 1.5 inches.
The familiar bluet ranges from southern Canada to Mexico. It is usually found in many different habitats, including poorly vegetated lakes, ponds, bogs, slow rivers and streams. In Wisconsin, it is fairly common throughout the state.
Typical flight season is from early June to late September in Wisconsin. This species is more common in the latter half of its flight season.