Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
Species
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon, on May 21st 2010. Approx 6x lifesize.
Male. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon, on May 21st 2010.
(1/100th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Teneral male Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Teneral male. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, on May 15th 2010. Approx 4.5x lifesize.
Teneral male. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, on May 15th 2010.
(1/250th sec at f14. Approx 2.75x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Large Red Damselflies in tandem (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Pair in tandem. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, on May 22nd 2010. Approx 3x lifesize.
Pair in tandem. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, on May 22nd 2010.
(1/125th sec at f13. Approx 2x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

Wingspan: 38 - 48 mm; Body length: 33 - 36 mm

The Large Red Damselfly is often the first damselfly to emergein the spring. Males have a mostly red body, but the eigth segment is dark and there are two dark bands on the tail. It also has two red antehumeral stripes on the thorax. Teneral males have yellow antehumeral stripes, which change to red when fully mature. Females occur in three colour forms, but all have yellow bands around the abdominal segments. They have red (sometimes yellow) antehumeral stripes. Both sexes have black legs and red eyes.

It can be found throughout the British Isles.

It can be found in most wetland habitats, from acidic moorland bog pools to brackish ditches, but it avoids fast-flowing waters.

Eggs are laid in batches of about 350 on submerged vegetation. Larvae live among bottom vegetation and debris, and are unusually territorial. They develop over 1-3, but usually 2 years, and many emerge synchronously on spring mornings. Males emerge slightly earlier and in larger numbers than females, maturing in 12 days (four days earlier than females). The main flight period is May to July.

Males defend their territories vigourously.

A common and widespread species.

Sightings

22-May-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (5m,1f)
18-May-2018 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1)
14-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
11-May-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
09-May-2018 : Rodborough Common, Glos (2)
05-May-2018 : Cors y Llyn NNR, Powys (17)
04-May-2018 : Cors y Llyn NNR, Powys (1)
01-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)

01-Jul-2017 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (1m)
14-Jun-2017 : Whelford Pools, Glos (1)
30-May-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (2m)
02-May-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (6)

02-Jul-2016 : Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria (2)
28-Jun-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2m)
26-Jun-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
07-Jun-2016 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
05-Jun-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (7m,1f)
02-Jun-2016 : Hatchet Small Pond, Hants (1)
02-Jun-2016 : Hawkhill Inclosure, Hants (1)
27-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (9)
24-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2)
15-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (4)
14-May-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (3+)
05-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
30-Apr-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)

21-Jun-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
21-Jun-2015 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1m)
06-Jun-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (5m)
01-Jun-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (3)
17-May-2015 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (3)
12-May-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
10-May-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
09-May-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
30-Apr-2015 : Arne, Dorset (3)
27-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (3 ten)

28-Jun-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
18-Jun-2014 : nr Mirkovo, Bulgaria
14-Jun-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2m)
08-Jun-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3)
08-Jun-2014 : Parsonage Moor, Oxon (6)
07-Jun-2014 : Stanford Dingley, Berks (1)
01-Jun-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3)
25-May-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (4m,1f)
17-May-2014 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (5+)
17-May-2014 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2)
05-May-2014 : Tregaron Bog, Ceredigion (1)
26-Apr-2014 : Whelford Pools, Glos (1)
17-Apr-2014 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)