One of the rarer blue and black Damselflies.

Male: blue and black with a “wine-goblet” shaped mark near the top of the abdomen.

Female: either blue and black or almost entirely black.




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Latin NameCoenagrion pulchellum

Well-vegetated ditches, canals and ponds. Rarely in flowing water.

Status & Distribution

Scattered and uncommon in mainland Britain but widespread and common in Ireland.

Similar Species

Easily confused with the other members of the genus Coenagrion.

Variable Damselfly can be distinguished by its:

  • Distinctive tri-lobed pronotum.
  • Male: broken ante-humeral stripes and “wine-goblet” shaped marking.



Species GroupDamselflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 33mm
  • Tri-lobed pronotum.
  • Male: ante-humeral stripes (on the back of the thorax) are usually broken. “Wine-goblet” shaped mark (varies) on segment 2 near the top of the abdomen..
  • Female: dark form has an all black abdomen, blue form has a blue and black abdomen.
Flight PeriodVariable Damselfly
Larval Information

Spotting on the back of the head.

Caudal lamellae rounded at the ends (distinguishes it from Azure Damselfly).