The most common Emerald Damselfly species.

Male: Metallic green with blue colouration.

Female: Metallic green with pale green/brown underparts.

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Species GroupDamselflies
Scientific NameLestes sponsa
Status & Distribution

Locally common throughout Britain but has been declining since the 1990s, particularly in England.


Still waters with tall waterside vegetation, especially rushes and sedges.


Flight PeriodEmerald Damselfly
Adult Identification
  • Length: 38mm
  • Metallic green body.
  • The elongated pterostigma (wing spots) are dark brown to black.
  • Male: blue colouration at the top and bottom of the abdomen (segments 1-2 and 9-10).
  • Female: thicker body than the male and no blue colouration.
  • Rests with wings half spread.
Larval Information

Lestes larvae have a long abdomen and large caudal lamellae.

Distinctive long tennis racket shaped mask.

Caudal lamellae are rounded at the end.


Similar Species

Can be distinguished from other Emerald species by its:

  • Dark narrow pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Males: Segment 2 all blue. Small, narrow inferior appendages.
  • Females: Isolate metallic spot above middle leg on thorax. Short ovipositor that does not extend past the end of the abdomen.