Three of the small bluet species that occur in Arizona are the Arroyo, Familiar, and Tule Bluets. The Arroyo andFamiliar Bluets are widespread throughout the state and can be common or abundant. The Tule Bluet is found mostly in the eastern and northern parts of the state (Paulson 2009). The Arroyo Bluet is, on average, slightly smaller (average length: 30.5 mm) than the other two species (average length: 32.5 mm; Abbott 2005), but there is much overlap.
Two rubyspot species (Hetaerina sp.) are commonly found in appropriate habitats in Arizona: the American Rubyspot and the Canyon Rubyspot. The two species can be found at the same time and at a same location, but in Arizona only the American Rubyspot is normally present at low elevation sites. To separate mature MALESof the two species in the field, focus on the wing pattern, the abdomen color, and in the hand, the shape of appendages:
To separate mature FEMALES of the two species, focus on the wing pattern (as in males) and thorax color (see composite picture below):
Four species of red-saddled Trameas have been recorded in Arizona: Red (common), Striped (uncommon), Sooty (vagrant), and Antillean Saddlebags (rare). Note that coloration in the Sooty Saddlebags changes with age: Mature individuals are completely dark whereas immature individuals are mostly red. This section, therefore, applies only to immature individuals of the species.
The Tonto Dancer, Argia tonto, although widely distributed in Arizona, had until now never been recorded in Maricopa Co. On 20 June 2010 one male was found along the Seven Springs stream to provide a first county record.
In early June James Walker of Seattle, WA, emailed me pictures of male Antillean Saddlebags, Tramea insularistaken on 31 May 2010 at Kearny L., Pinal. This species in the US is normally restricted to a small region of southwest Texas and the southern tip of Florida (Paulson, 2009), but in recent years has been reported also from a couple of Arizona locations including Kearny L. Observations in Arizona have generally been limited to late summer and fall until October.