The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in COENAGRIONIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 1

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Blackwater Bluet (Enallagma weewa) by Matt Spangler
Compare with: Blue-tipped Dancer  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and females.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Blackwater Bluet
Flight Charts
Distribution Nearly throughout the Coastal Plain, and the extreme eastern and southern Piedmont. Absent from the mountains, and essentially absent from the northwestern half of the Piedmont, though a shocking photograph in 2021 documented the species from Wilkes County. Perhaps absent in a few counties in the northeastern Coastal Plain, such as those around Albemarle Sound.
Abundance Though recorded from most Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont counties, suggesting that it isn't rare, there are relatively few recent reports, and just a modest number of photographs. Seems to be uncommon and overlooked within the range (if not also declining) -- at least in the southern portion of the Coastal Plain (where most recent records have been made). Certainly, rare in the Piedmont portion of the range, as (despite many observers in the Triangle region) there are no recent records from this province.
Flight In the Coastal Plain, the flight occurs from early May to early October, and the Piedmont flight is similar, though the earliest record is from late May.
Habitat Unusual for a damselfly: as the name suggests, it is found around blackwater (acidic) streams, rarely around larger rivers and lakes, but again with tannic (acidic) waters. However, several recent records have been at margins of lakes and ponds (in the Sandhills, where waters are acidic).

See also Habitat Account for General Blackwater Shorelines
Behavior Both sexes tend to stay in shade in vegetation along the banks of streams -- very hard for an observer to spot. And they seem to be less active than most other bluets, only infrequently perching on a twig or other perch over the water. Males often perch on grasses or other shaded vegetation about a foot or two off the water, along the stream bank -- often in a vertical or diagonal position.
Comments It seems remarkable that Cuyler, and possibly others, have collected the species from 40 or more counties, yet there are relatively few recent observations. This scarcity of recent records is likely due to the fact that few observers look for odonates along blackwater streams; most field work is done around ponds, lakes, and larger creeks and rivers. Certainly a species that has been recorded (collected) in ecologically "impoverished" counties such as Edgecombe, Wilson, Greene, Lenoir, and Duplin cannot be that scarce. There are barely 10-12 photographs available (so far) for the species in NC, and none as yet from the northern half of the Coastal Plain or eastern Piedmont.

As there were no reports at all statewide in 2019 and 2020, the State Rank has been adjusted upward to a less common S4, instead of S5. Perhaps the species is indeed declining, and not just being overlooked or difficult to survey; however, blackwater creeks and rivers have not been impacted much by development or agriculture in recent decades.
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-18 15:46:57

Photo Gallery for Blackwater Bluet   13 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Robeson, 2023-05-12, Lumber River State Park-Princess Ann Access
Photo 2 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent

Comment: Moore; C, 2022-06-26, Aberdeen Lake dam (ALD) area; Weymouth Woods (WEWO) preserve - male; James Creek by Valhalla Road at WEWO; photo by Lori Arent
Photo 3 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Moore; C, 2022-06-04, Aberdeen Lake Park
Photo 4 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2021-08-21, Kerr Scott Dam/ Yadkin River (Dam to 1000 ft downstream) - First record for the region and pretty far from any previously known populations. In a shaded patch of bur-reeds on the edge of the river.
Photo 5 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2021-08-21, Kerr Scott Dam/ Yadkin River (Dam to 1000 ft downstream) - First record for the region and pretty far from any previously known populations. In a shaded patch of bur-reeds on the edge of the river.
Photo 6 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Pender, 2021-05-24, Black River downstream of Hunts Bluff
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Robeson, 2018-08-26, Lumber River at Lumber River State Park-Princess Ann - tandem pair ovipositing and lone male
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Brunswick, 2018-05-11, Allen Creek below dam on Patricia Lake, Boiling Spring Lakes - 1 tandem pair, 1 lone male
Photo 9 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2017-05-27 - Cowhorn Creek Landing. Individuals and tandem pairs common.
Photo 10 by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Richmond; C, 2017-05-08, McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner, Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-07, Sandhill Game Land; Scotland Lake - adult males
Photo 12 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-06-14 - Lake McKinney drainage, saw male perched like spreadwings
Photo 13 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Jones, 2014-09-20 - Male photographed along Trent River