Female Scarlet Bluets oviposit on the undersides of lily pads and will often be seen resting on the surface of the pads (Nikula et al. 2003).
In New York, Scarlet Bluets have been confirmed in ten locations in Suffolk County (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). In addition to a restricted range, there are a number of threats to these locations (see Conservation and Management section). New locations in recent years are likely due to increased survey effort rather than a population increase or expansion.
Population estimates have been made in recent years as part of a special effort during the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey (2005-2010) (White et al. 2010). Of the ten sites where Scarlet Bluets are known to currently occur, eight sites are estimated to have good or excellent viability (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). Some sites are in close proximity to each other, and the ten sites may be grouped into five pond complexes. Between 10-100 individuals were estimated in at least one pond from each of these complexes since 2005. Three of the complexes contained at least one pond with over 100 individuals, and there was one pond with over 1,000 individuals estimated in recent years (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). Recent information on the species prior to 2005 is very limited, with records going back to 1989 at three of the sites. New locations in recent years are likely due to increased survey effort rather than a population increase or expansion and may serve as baseline information to look at future trends.
Recent observations since 1989 have been noted at Suffolk County sites and the species had been observed at one additional historical location prior to 1913 (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). Observations are fairly recent and long-term trends are unclear.
Any activity which might lead to water contamination or the alteration of natural hydrology could impact Scarlet Bluet populations (NYS DEC 2005). Such threats might include roadway and agricultural run-off, ditching and filling, eutrophication and nutrient loading from fertilizers, herbicides, and septic systems, changes in dissolved oxygen content, and development near their habitats (NYS DEC 2005). Groundwater withdrawal is a potential threat in lentic habitats on Long Island, as are invasive plant species replacing native plants like white water lily that Scarlet Bluet requires for oviposition (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). The introduction of grass carp is also a threat to coastal plain ponds on Long Island. In addition, both emergence rates and/or species ranges may shift for odonate species as a result of climate change (Kalkman et al. 2008).
Any efforts to reduce roadway and agricultural run-off, eutrophication, development of upland borders to ponds and resulting increased groundwater withdrawal, invasive plant and animal species, trampling of vegetation from recreation, and ditching and filling activities should be considered when managing for this species (NYS DEC 2005, White et al. 2010). Maintenance or restoration of native shoreline vegetation and surrounding upland habitat will benefit this species, as females require native emergent vegetation for successful reproduction and spend much of their time in upland habitats away from the breeding pond (Gibbons et al. 2002, White et al. 2010). Many of the known sites on Long Island are located within or on preserves or protected lands, but the above listed threats might be present on adjacent lands.
Further monitoring is needed to define the extent of populations of Scarlet Bluets in New York. In addition, research is required to understand the habitat requirements and threats to this species. A recovery plan for the species should be developed and appropriate management guidelines should be adopted for its persistence in known locations (NYS DEC 2005).
Scarlet Bluets are found at acidic, sandy, coastal plain ponds with water lilies (Nikula et al. 2003, Lam 2004). Habitats are also known to include bayonet rush (Juncus militarus) along the shoreline (Gibbons et al. 2002, New York Natural Heritage Program 2011), and Gibbons et al. (2002) found that they are mainly in habitats with white water lily (Nymphaea odorata) on Cape Cod. Most known habitats in New York seem to include water lilies, pickerelweed, shorelines of emergent grasses, rushes, or sedges or margins that are boggy (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011).
In New York, there are 10 known locations in Suffolk County where the species occurs (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011).
Enallagma pictum has a total known range from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and southern Maine (NatureServe 2010, Abbott 2007).
Most Enallagmas are blue, but E. pictum is orange-red in color (Carpenter, 1991). Males have red faces and a narrow, red band behind the eyes. The thorax is red with black shoulder stripes and the abdomen is black above and orange or buff below (Nikula et al. 2003). Females have similar black patterning to males, but instead of red, pale areas are dull yellow (Lam 2004).
In New York, most records were documented in mid-July both before and during the NYDDS (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011) and the species is known to fly in New York from June 17 through July 27 (Donnelly 1999). New Jersey flight dates are from mid-May to mid-September (Bangma & Barlow 2010) and at their northern range extent, they are known to fly in Maine from early July to late August (Brunelle & deMaynadier 2005).
The time of year you would expect to find Scarlet Bluet present and reproducing in New York.
Enallagma pictum Morse, 1895
Abbott, J.C. 2007. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the odonata of North America. Austin, Texas. Available at http://odonatacentral.com.
Bangma J. and Barlow A. 2010. NJODES; The dragonflies and damselflies of New Jersey.<http://www.njodes.com/Speciesaccts/species.asp>.
Brunelle, P.-M. and P. deMaynadier. 2005. The Maine Dameslfly and Dragonfly Survey: A Final Report. 2nd edition. Report prepared for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Bangor, Maine. November 1, 2005. 31 pp.
Carpenter, V. 1991. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History: Brewster, Massachusetts. 79 pp.
Donnelly, T.W. 1999. The dragonflies and damselflies of New York. Prepared for the 1999 International Congress of Odonatology and First Symposium of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association. July 11-16, 1999. Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. 39 pp.
Gibbons, L.K., J.M. Reed, and F.S. Chew. 2002. Habitat requirements and local persistence of three damselfly species (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). Journal of Insect Conservation 6:47-55.
Kalkman, V. J., V. Clausnitzer, K. B. Dijkstra, A. G. Orr, D. R. Paulson, and J. van Tol. 2008. Global diversity of dragonflies (Odonata) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:351-363.
Lam, E. 2004. Damselflies of the northeast: A guide to the species of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. Biodiversity Books, Forest Hills, New York. 96 pp.
NatureServe. 2010. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Data last updated August 2010)
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2011. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 2005. Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy Planning Database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
Nikula, B., J.L. Loose, and M.R. Burne. 2003. A field guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of Massachusetts. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Westborough, MA. 197 pp.
White, Erin L., Jeffrey D. Corser, and Matthew D. Schlesinger. 2010. The New York Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey 2005-2009: distribution and status of the odonates of New York. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY. 450 pp.
This guide was authored by: Erin L. White
Information for this guide was last updated on: June 7, 2011
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. Online Conservation Guide for Enallagma pictum. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/scarlet-bluet/. Accessed March 31, 2023.