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Ischnura elegans - Blue-tailed Damselfly

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Odonata - Family: Coenagriidae

Ischnura elegans, Blue-tailed Damselfly

Despite their small size, Blue-tailed Damselflies are strong fliers and can cope with dull and blustery weather that most other damselflies tend to shun.

Description

Both male and female Blue-tailed Damselflies are predominantly black when viewed from above, with a blue tip to the abdomen (segment eight). The male has two-tone (black and whitish) diamond-shaped pterostigmata (wing spots). The females, also usually with blue tail spots and displaying bi-coloured pterostigmata, come in many colour forms: their thorax sides can be various colour shades including blue, green, violet or pink. Juveniles also can come in a range of colours, the males and most females gradually turning blue as they mature.

Ischnura elegans, Blue-tailed Damselfly, female

Distribution

Blue-tailed Damselflies are found throughout Britain, where this species is both widespread and abundant.

Ischnura elegans, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Oxfordshire UK

Habitat

These little damselflies are associated with slow-flowing rivers and streams as well as stillwaters including stagnant and sometimes even polluted ponds.

Blue-tailed damselfly, male

Life cycle

This species has a one-year life cycle, with adults appearing between late April and early October. Paired Blue-tailed Damselflies can be seen flitting over the water surface on sunny days, but even on quite dull days it is often possible to find a few of these little damselflies on the wing. After mating the females usually fly singly and dip down to lay their eggs on floating vegetation.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by James Wainscoat.

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