Length: Male: 42-47mm; Female: 39-44mm
This damselfly is metallic green, with no blue pruinescence on the male. At rest, the Emerald damselflies all spread their wings at an angle to the body, unlike other damselflies. The pterostigma is pale brown with a black border, and the sides of the thorax show a spur-shaped marking. The male upper appendages are distinctively pale cream with dark tips.
Usually near ponds, canals or other still water with overhanging trees. The eggs are laid into the bark of willow or alder.
Status & Distribution
Recent colonist. A very few twentieth century records, but recorded in numbers from southeast Suffolk during 2009, with outlying sites in southeast Norfolk and north Essex. In 2010 again present in these areas, with additional records from south Essex and north Kent…Uk Dragonflies
While I’ve seen these down by the river I have never seen on in the garden before.
Only two species of damselfly in Britain have obviously coloured wings. They both belong to the genus Calopteryx. In this species the wings of the mature male have a dark blue-black band across the central portion and those of the female are iridescent pale-green. The body colour is metallic blue-green in the male and green with a bronze tip in the female. The flight is fluttering, butterfly-like and the male often perform a fluttering display flight in front of females.
Mainly found along slow-flowing lowland streams and rivers, particularly those with muddy bottoms.
Mature males always have a blue spot at the “tail” (S8), blue ante-humeral stripes on the thorax and blue eyes. Females vary with at least 5 different colour forms. The thoracic markings and the tail spot are violet in the immature form violacea, but salmon pink thorax and blue spot in the form “rufescens”. When mature the female may be blue (like the male) in the form “typica”, olive green thorax and brown spot in the form “infuscans” or pale brown thorax and brown spot in the form “infuscans-obseleta”. Male and female both have bi-coloured pterostigma on the front wings.
Found in a very wide range of lowland habitats including brackish or polluted water where it may be the only species present.
This landed on one of my hollyhocks , a beautiful looking thing.
Often the earliest dragonfly or damselfly to appear, it is relatively easy to identify being red and black, with the black legs, which distinguish it from the Small Red Damselfly.
Photo ID? Easily identified from a photo
The Large Red Damselfly has a preference for well-vegetated sites, and is found on a variety of water bodies including ponds, lakes, rivers and canals.
When to see it
Mid April until the end of August.
The Large Red normally has a two year life cycle. Unusually for dragonflies, the larvae are territorial as well as the adult males.
Widespread throughout most of Britain.