Rare emerald damselfly species.

Male: Blue eyes, bright metallic green body with blue coloration on the top and bottom of the abdomen.

Female: Brown eyes and dull metallic green body.

Where to See

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Latin NameLestes dryas

Usually found within the dense vegetation of shallow pools and drainage channels.

On the coastal and estuarine marshes in Kent and Essex populations also use the borrow dykes as well as ditches and marsh pools where they show a tolerance of brackish water.

Breeding sites are well vegetated with submerged and emergent vegetation.

  • Over abstraction.
  • Eutrophication.
  • Over-grazing.
  • Climate change causing drought or coastal flooding.
  • Lack of management leading to successional habitat change.
Status & Distribution

It is a rare and local species, recognised as vulnerable by the UK statutory conservation agencies.

It is listed under Category 2 (vulnerable) in the British Red Data Book on Insects.
In Britain the species has strongholds on the coastal and estuarine marshes of Essex and North Kent and in the Norfolk Brecklands. There are also a few scattered colonies at other locations in East Anglia.

Similar Species

Emerald Damselfly

  • Narrower pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: Narrow inferior appendages.
  • Female: Ovipositor reaches past end of the abdomen. Two square spots on segment 1 near the top of the abdomen.

Southern Emerald Damselfly 

  • Two-toned pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: no blue coloration and green eyes.

Willow Emerald Damselfly

  • Pale brown pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: no blue coloration and green eyes.
Species GroupDamselflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: Male: 37mm; Female: 34mm
  • Male: blue eyes. Metallic green abdomen with blue coloration on part of segment 2 and segments 9-10.
  • Female: brown eyes. Dull metallic green abdomen. Ovipositor does not stick out past the end of the abdomen. Two square markings on segment 1.
  • Rests with wings spread.
Flight PeriodScarce Emerald Damselfly
Larval Information

Lestes larvae have a long abdomen and large caudal lamellae.

Distinctive long tennis racket shaped mask.

Caudal lamellae taper to a point.