Working to conserve dragonflies and their wetland habitats

Red-eyed Damselfly

Erythromma najas

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Description

Length: 35mm

A robust looking damselfly with a dark greyish abdomen and a blue "tail" in the male. The eyes of the male are deep red and the thorax in both sexes is bronze black on top. The female has short, yellowish ante-humeral lines.

Habitat

Found in lakes, gravel pits, canals and slow-flowing rivers. The males often sit on water lily leaves defending their leaf from allcomers.

Status & Distribution

Locally common in southern England and the Welsh Borders.


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Similar species

The similar, but smaller, Small Red-eyed Damselfly is sometimes found in the same habitat and careful observation is needed to distinguish the two species. Could be confused with the Blue-tailed Damselflies Ischnura elegans and I. pumilio, but these are smaller less robust looking insects and do not have red eyes.

Females can be mistaken for the melanotum form of the female Large Red Damselfly, which also develops red eyes but can be distinguished by the shape of the thoracic stripes and the differently-coloured pterostigmata: pale for Red-eyed; black for Large Red.