Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea
Adult sizeOverall length: 47 - 55mm Hindwing length: 31 - 34mm
Distinguishing features.The Downy Emerald is one of three Emerald dragonflies found in Britain. It is a medium sized metallic green dragonfly with a copper sheen and noticeable bright apple green eyes. The male has a slightly club shaped abdomen and as the name suggests a downy thorax. An early spring/summer species they can be elusive and often hard to find!
Identification - for help with terms see glossary
HabitatA pond, lake or canal within or close to deciduous woodland with scattered bankside trees, sparse stands of emergent vegetation and a carpet of leaf litter on the pond floor will offer the best conditions for breeding.
BehaviourMales will patrol over water close to the bank but rarely settle by water and will often fly up into the canopy to perch. Adults will also feed at canopy height. Can be overlooked at sites due to this behaviour. Both sexes will often be found far away from water.
Status and distributionHas a wide but very scattered distribution in Britain. Stronghold in south east of England. Very patchy distribution in Dorset but is probably under recorded.
Flight periodMain flight period is April to August, peaking in late May to mid June.
Could only be confused with Brilliant Emerald found only in northern Scotland and south east England and Northern Emerald which is only found in northern Scotland.
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All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.