Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum)
Species
Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum). Male. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon, on June 13th 2015.
Male. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon, on June 13th 2015.
(1/160th sec at f13. Approx 3.5x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum). Male. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon, on June 13th 2015.
Male. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon, on June 13th 2015.
(1/160th sec at f13. Approx 3.5x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum). Female. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon., on May 18th 2018.
Female. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon., on May 18th 2018.
(1/400th sec at f13. Approx 3.5x lifesize. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

Wingspan: 32 - 46mm; Length: 33 - 38mm

In males, the antehumeral stripes are broken (or sometimes missing entirely), there is a thick black wine goblet shape on S2, and S9 is more than half black. Females occur in two colour forms, dark and blue.

It has a patchy distribution in Britain, being mainly found in Somerset, Sussex, Kent, the Norfolk Broads, the Fens, Anglesey and south Galloway. It is widely distributed in Ireland.

This species needs well-vegetated grazing-marsh ditches, fens, ponds, lakes and canals.

Eggs are laid into the stems and leaves of aquatic plants. They hatch after a month, and the nymphs probably take a year to mature.

Most aspects of behaviour are similar to the Azure Damselfly. Adults are often found in lush vegetation away from the water's edge.

This is a Red data list species in Britain.

Sightings

16-May-2019 : Abingdon, Oxon (1f)

18-May-2018 : Abingdon, Oxon (3m,1f)
13-Jun-2015 : Abingdon, Oxon (2m)
19-Jun-2014 : Novo Zhelezare, Bulgaria
25-Jun-2013 : Catfield Fen, Norfolk (2+)