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.
This is one of the unusually-colored bluets, with the body length varying from 1.1 to 1.5 inches. The male has a orange thorax with black dorsal and shoulder stripes. The abdomen is mostly black with orange rings. The female is similar but the pale areas are dull yellow. Her abdomen is mostly black with a pale tip.
Description of Habitat/Range:
This species is common throughout eastern to central United States, including parts in southeast Canada. The orange bluet is usually found at a variety of non-moving water habitats, including slow streams, small lakes, and quiet bays. It is widespread and fairly common throughout Wisconsin.