This is without doubt the more common of the two emerald dragonflies that can be found in the south of the United Kingdom. It is also the first to emerge at the end of May. It can be seen on the wing until the end of July. This species prefers lakes and pools that are partially wooded but with some open areas where they can bask in the sunshine.
As its name suggests the Downy's body is covered in fine hairs that are a bronze in colour. The Brilliant Emerald lacks these hairs and is an overall brighter green. Although very similar in appearance, when seen together at the same site, the two are easily told apart.
Downy Emeralds have vibrant bright green eyes when they are fully mature, whilst the immature's have brown ones. Both sexes are also very similar to each other in appearance. The male has a club end to its abdomen, whilst the females' swells into a bulge at segment two and is then mainly regular in thickness to its tip.
Otherwise the anal appendages will need close examination to be able to identify the individual sexes from one another.