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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Species GroupDamselflies
Scientific NameCoenagrion pulchellum
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.


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

Flight PeriodVariable Damselfly
Adult Identification
  • 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.
Larval Information

Spotting on the back of the head.

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

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.