Variable Damselfly

Coenagrion pulchellum

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Length: 33mm

Flight period: May to August (occasionally April)

Both sexes have a small blue line between the eye spots. 

Male: anti-humeral stripes are usually broken, like two exclamation marks. S2 has a "wine-goblet" shaped marked, usually joined to the inter-segmental line by its stalk, though this character is quite variable. S8 is blue but S9 is mainly black.

Female: blue with more or less extensive black markings.


Well-vegetated ditches, canals and ponds. Rarely in flowing water.

Status & Distribution

Scattered and uncommon in mainland Britain but widespread and common in Ireland.

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Similar species

This species is easily confused with the other members of the genus Coenagrion and with the Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum . Look at S2 (on the males) for distinguishing characters. The females can be particularly tricky to distinguish apart.