Coenagrion scitulum (Rambur, 1842)
Dainty Bluet

Type locality: environs of Paris, France


Another small bluet of the south, preferring calmer waters than its relatives, these often with rich aquatic vegetation. The black-and-blue pattern of the males appears as if the basal half of the abdomen is of a Coenagrion and the terminal half of the abdomen is of an Ischnura. Care is required to differentiate from its sibling, C. caerulescens, along running waters in the western Mediterranean. Shorter bodied than C. puella and one of the smallest species of Coenagrion. Males differ from their usual neighbours, C. mercuriale and C. puella, by having S3-5 about half black, while S6-7 are all black. Male S2 is marked with a black ‘tuning fork’ or ‘cat’s head’. Males of C. caerulescens appear almost identical (see that species and hand characters for distinguishing features). Females are greenish brown to blue, with pale areas creeping up rather broadly at the bases of the abdomen segments, the black markings appearing torpedo-shaped. Best identified by the long, pale pterostigmas (see below). Shares the following diagnostic features with C. caerulescens: (1) pterostigma more elongate and often paler (brownish, not black) than other Coenagrion in both sexes, the anterior side being clearly longer than the basal side, while in other Coenagrion all sides are about equal; (2) male upper appendages distinctly longer than lowers (view from side), with a distinct tooth at the tip of each but not at base (view from above). Unlike C. caerulescens, male upper appendages have strongly incurved hooks (view from above) and are less than half as long as S10. The hind margin of the female pronotum has a small lobe in middle, while the male pronotal margin is broadly triangular and pointed in the middle. Females are variable and can be darker than described. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]

Habitat description

Standing waters in open landscapes. Often with emergent and usually aquatic vegetation. From 0 to 2100 m above sea level, but mostly below 300.


confirmed: Algeria; Morocco; Tunisia

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.


  • Rambur, P. (1842). Histoire Naturelle des Insectes. Neuroptères. Insectes Neuroptères. Paris: Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret xvii, pp.534.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-21].