Length: 35mm

Flight period:  May to September (occasionally late April and early October)

A robust looking damselfly with a dark greyish abdomen and bronze-black top to the thorax. a blue “tail” in the male.

Male: eyes deep red and with a blue ‘tail’ at the end of the abdomen.

Female: short, yellowish ante-humeral stripes with greenoish sides to the thorax, green-brown eyes and no blue ‘tail’.

Where to See

Latin NameErythromma najas

Found in lakes, gravel pits, canals and slow-flowing rivers. The males often sit on water lily leaves defending their leaf from allcomers.

Status & Distribution

Locally common in southern England and the Welsh Borders.

Similar Species

The similar, but smaller, Small Red-eyed Damselfly is sometimes found in the same habitat and careful observation is needed to distinguish the two species. Could be confused with the Blue-tailed Damselflies Ischnura elegans and I. pumilio, but these are smaller less robust looking insects and do not have red eyes.

Females can be mistaken for the melanotum form of the female Large Red Damselfly, which also develops red eyes but can be distinguished by the shape of the thoracic stripes and the differently-coloured pterostigmata: pale for Red-eyed; black for Large Red.

Species GroupDamselflies
Identification Notes
  • Male Red eyes, black abdomen with blue tip.
  • Female Brown-red eyes with black abdomen with no blue ‘tail.
  • Seen near larger ponds with abundant floating leaved plants.
  • 35mm
  • May – August