Variable Damselfly

Coenagrion pulchellum

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Length: 33mm

In the male, the ante-humeral stripes are usually broken, like two exclamation marks. S2 has a "wine-goblet" shaped marked, usually joined to the inter-segmental line by its stalk, though this character is quite variable. S8 is blue but S9 is mainly black. The female is blue with more or less extensive black markings.


Well-vegetated ditches, canals and ponds. Rarely in flowing water.

Status & Distribution

Scattered and uncommon in mainland Britain but widespread and common in Ireland.

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Similar species

This species is easily confused with the other members of the genus Coenagrion and with the Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum . Look at S2 (on the males) for distinguishing characters. The females can be particularly tricky to distinguish apart.