Description

Very similar to the more common Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Male: mostly black with a small blue patch at the end of the abdomen.

Female: mostly black and green-brown on the underside. Immature females bright orange.

 

 

Click on an image to enlarge it.

 

Where to See

Click here for the map
Latin NameIschnura pumilio
Habitat

Usually found in shallow wetland sites such as bog pools or slow flowing water, fed by seepages and flushes.

It appears to prefer early successional habitats with minimal vegetation, although some emergent plants are required at breeding sites.

A common feature of most sites is a degree of habitat disturbance, which maintains bare substrate, and the openness of the vegetation.

Threats
  • Alterations of hydrology, such as drainage that diverts water away from existing seepages and flushes.
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation.
  • Reworking or restoration of quarry sites leading to the loss or drying out of seepages, streams and pools.
  • Cessation of quarry working leading to the loss of pumped water in artificial channels.
  • Unmanaged sites succumb to plant succession and encroachment.
Status & Distribution

Classed as nationally scarce in the British Red Data Book of Insects. At the turn of the century it was thought to be extinct, but in recent times has shown some range expansion.
In Britain it is most numerous in southwest counties of England and Wales, but there are additional sites scattered across Britain and Ireland. Isolated colonies exist in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

Similar Species

Blue-tailed Damselfly

  • Both male and female have a coloured abdomen spot which is higher up on segment 8.

Red-eyed Damselfly

  • Fully coloured pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: Red eyes and no antehumeral stripes.
  • Female: Antehumeral stripes on the back of the thorax and Coenagrion spur on the side of the thorax.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

  • Fully coloured pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: Red eyes. Broken antehumeral stripes on the thorax. Black “X” marking on the end of the abdomen.
  • Female: Blue coloration underneath. Antehumeral stripes on the back of the thorax and Coenagrion spur on the side of the thorax.
Management

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly Management Profile

Species GroupDamselflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 26-31mm
  • Two-toned pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: mostly black with a small blue patch on segments 8 and 9 (at the end of the abdomen) which contains two small black markings. Narrow antehumeral stripes on the back of the thorax.
  • Female: mostly black with green-brown coloration underneath.
  • Immature female: bright orange (aurantiaca phase).

 

Flight PeriodScarce Blue-tailed Damselfly
Larval Information

No spotting on the back of the head.

Caudal lamellae have no markings.

No dark banding on the legs (distinguishes it from Blue-tailed Damselfly).