Length: 31mm

Male and female both have a bi-coloured pterostigma on each of the front wings.

Male: always has a light-blue spot at the “tail” (segment 8), blue ante-humeral stripes on the thorax and blue eyes.

Female: varies 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.

Where to See

Latin NameIschnura elegans

Found in a very wide range of lowland habitats including brackish or polluted water where it may be the only species present.

Status & Distribution

Abundant throughout the British Isles.

Similar Species

The related but uncommon Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly superficially resembles this species but has a different position for the tail spot. At a glance could be confused with the two Red-eyed Damselfly species Erythromma najas and E. viridulum but are smaller, less robust looking insects and do not have red eyes.

Species GroupDamselflies
Identification Notes
  • Only damsel in our area that has black abdomen with blue coloured S8 and two toned pterostigma
  • Can be found almost anywhere, very common
  • Late April – September
Flight PeriodBlue-tailed Damselfly