Working to conserve dragonflies and their wetland habitats

Southern Emerald Damselfly

Lestes barbarus

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Description

Length: 40-45mm

This damselfly is metallic green, becoming bronze as it ages. It has relatively broad, pale ante-humeral stripes on the thorax, and a pale back to the head. At rest, the Southern Emerald spreads its wings at a wide angle to the body. The pterostigma is bi-coloured. Males become pruinescent only on abdominal segment S10.

 

Habitat

Still, shallow, waters; will tolerate brackish conditions. Seems to favour dune slacks and other coastal sites in our area, though has occurred inland.

Status & Distribution

Migrant from Northern Europe, possibly the Netherlands where it has increased recently. First observed in July 2002 in Norfolk. Also in the Channel Islands since 1995. Now occurs almost annually, and has attempted to breed.

Distribution map from the National Biodiversity Network Gateway (opens in new window).


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Similar species

Other members of the Lestes genus are quite similar but L. sponsa is by far the most likely to be found in the UK.