Rare emerald damselfly species.

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

Female: Brown eyes and dull metallic green body.

Where to See

Click here for the map
Species GroupDamselflies
Scientific NameLestes dryas
Status & Distribution

Listed as Near Threatened in the British Odonata Red List 2008.
The species has localised strongholds in south-east England. There are also a few scattered colonies at other locations in East Anglia.


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.

Flight PeriodScarce Emerald Damselfly
Adult Identification
  • Length: Male: 37mm; Female: 34mm
  • Male: blue eyes. Metallic green abdomen with blue colouration 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.
Larval Information

Lestes larvae have a long abdomen and large caudal lamellae.

Distinctive long tennis racket shaped mask.

Caudal lamellae taper to a point.



  • Over abstraction.
  • Eutrophication.
  • Over-grazing.
  • Climate change causing drought or coastal flooding.
  • Lack of management leading to successional habitat change.
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 colouration and green eyes.

Willow Emerald Damselfly

  • Pale brown pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Male: no blue colouration and green eyes.