A scarlet bluet. Courtesy of the Gray Wildlife Park

GREENWOOD — During field surveys in 2018, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife identified a scarlet bluet damselfly in the area of Round Pond in Greenwood, according to MDIFW .
MDIFW worked in collaboration with Dr. Ron Butler, a Biology Professor at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The location of the damselfly species is near Route 26 in Greenwood. Butler observed close to 20 adult males in one survey he conducted in July of last year.

Although the scarlet bluet is not currently considered an endangered species, it could eventually be listed as one, according to Phillip deMaynadier, a wildlife biologist for the MDIFW.

Shoreline development is one of the biggest threats facing the species and is one that humans can have control over.

“It’s a species that we found is most abundant in lake shores and coves, where there’s abundant, healthy and diverse populations of emergent aquatic vegetation,” deMaynadier said.

Water lilies, Spatterdock and water shields are some of the plants deMaynadier listed. When Scarlet Bluets are adults, they use the plants to perch on so they can fly into the air and catch other insects. They also use the plants to lay their eggs.

“It lays its eggs only in aquatic vegetation,” deMaynadier said.

The female uses her ovipositor, which is located at the tip of her abdomen, to cut a hole in the underside of the stem of the water lily. From there, she deposits her eggs inside the plant.

“The big part of the life cycle of damselflies is underwater, completely sort of unseen to us in its aquatic nymph stage,” deMaynadier said.

“They also make use the aquatic vegetation as sort of a jungle underwater to crawl around and forage on other insects. They have a one- to two-year life cycle underwater as an aquatic nymph.”

According to deMaynadier, the bluet is one of the most colorful damselflies in its fauna, with neon red eyes sticking out the most.

“This is just a piece of this larger northeast-wide survey effort to get a handle on the status and distribution of scarlet bluet and other rare damselflies,” deMaynadier said of the findings in Greenwood.

The scarlet bluet is one of four species of conservation concern being targeted by their surveys. The other three are the Little Bluet, New England Bluet and Pine Barrens Bluet.The four different types of damselflies are endemic to the northeast, meaning they have narrow geographic ranges, according to deMaynadier.

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