Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa
Adult sizeOverall length: 35 - 39mm Hindwing length: 27 – 36mm
Distinguishing featuresAll Emerald species (Lestes) have broadly metallic green bodies, similar to demoiselles but are smaller and without pigmented wings. Distinctively, they often hold their wings at a 45% angle rather than behind their abdomen.
Identification - for help with terms see glossary
A blue pruinescence (waxy pigment) develops on segments 1, 2, 9 & 10 and also on the sides of the thorax. The rest of the abdomen is metallic green. Has blue eyes.
Can resemble immature females and only by looking at anal appendages can these be told apart.
They have a metallic green/copper abdomen, thorax is copper and eyes are also copper.
Tend to be duller green and resemble immature males; can be separated as females have ovipositor.
HabitatPreferred breeding habitat is well vegetated small shallow still waters, such as ponds, bogs and ditches. Can tolerate acidic waters and often found on heathland.
BehaviourHas a weak delicate flight and often can be overlooked as they tend to prefer dense vegetation. Can be remarkably well camouflaged. Both males and females will tend to prefer similar habitat and probably do not stray far from breeding pools.
Status and distributionVery common throughout UK. Locally abundant in preferred habitat. Very common on heathland pools in Dorset.
Flight periodMain flight period is late May to Mid October, peaking in late summer.
Similar speciesOther Lestes (Emerald Damselfies) species are similar. See Scarce Emerald Damselfly Lestes dryas (link to BDS site) for distinguishing characters.
More photographsClick on the photos below to enlarge...
All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.