Downy Emerald

Cordulia aenea

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Length: 48mm

Flight period: May to July (occasionally seen in late April and August)

The Downy Emerald is one of three Emerald dragonflies found in Britain. It is a metallic green dragonfly with a copper sheen and noticeable bright apple green eyes. The male has a slightly club shaped abdomen and as the name suggests a downy thorax.

Management Profile


A pond within or close to deciduous woodland with scattered bankside trees, sparse stands of emergent vegetation and a carpet of leaf litter on the pond floor will offer the best conditions for breeding.

Status & Distribution

It has a scattered distribution from Devon to the highlands of Scotland, although it has a stong hold in the South East of England 

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Similar species

The Brilliant Emerald and Northern Emerald are somewhat similar in appearance.


Threats to this species come from habitat destruction and fragmentation, inappropriate habitat management, predation, pollution and changes in the hydrology of inhabited sites.  


General management principles include undertaking survey and research work, careful habitat management ensuring sites are not over managed, and maintenance of water levels. There are also best practice guidelines for managing inhabited sites, including physical habitat management, management of aquatic and terrestrial vegetation and habitat restoration and recreation.

Case Study

Management has been undertaken at Burnham Beeches 'Top Pond' with the aim of controlling the growth of Bogbean and expanding suitable habitat for the Downy Emerald.