Working to conserve dragonflies and their wetland habitats

Willow Emerald Damselfly

Lestes viridis

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Description

Length: Male: 42-47mm; Female: 39-44mm

This damselfly is metallic green, with no blue pruinescence on the male. At rest, the Emerald damselflies all spread their wings at an angle to the body, unlike other damselflies. The pterostigma is pale brown with a black border, and the sides of the thorax show a spur-shaped marking. The male upper appendages are distinctively pale cream with dark tips.

Habitat

Usually near ponds, canals or other still water with overhanging trees. The eggs are laid into the bark of willow or alder.

Status & Distribution

Recent colonist. A very few twentieth century records, but recorded in numbers from southeast Suffolk during 2009, with outlying sites in southeast Norfolk and north Essex. In 2010 again present in these areas, with additional records from south Essex and north Kent.


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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; note that tenerals of all Lestes species have pale pterostigmas. Willow Emerald Damselfly has a characteristic habit of spending much time up in the trees.