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

Listed as Near Threatened in the British Odonata Red List 2008.

Scattered and uncommon in mainland Britain. The species has shown a pattern of general decline in Wales since 1993.

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).