All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)

A Species Narrative by Ken Crick


Welcome to my new style narrative, the content of which has been kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick. The narrative is intended to give an insight into the life cycle and characteristics of the featured species.

Size: - Approximate Length 38mm - Wing Span 40 -46mm.
Male: - The upper surfaces of the thorax and abdomen are mainly metallic green with a bronze sheen. The eyes are pastel blue as are segments 1, 2, 8, 9 & 10 of the abdomen and the sides of the thorax. When at rest the vernacular name "spreadwing" describes the species well with its pigment free wings partially open in contrast to the closed wings of most other damselflies. The future blue areas on immature specimens are coloured buff / straw.

Female: - Metallic green on the upper surfaces of the thorax and abdomen; the sides and lower surfaces are straw to buff coloured. The female has no pastel blue pigmentation. Unlike the female demoiselles whose wings are suffused with colour the Emerald Damselfly has clear wings. The pterostigma may appear light in colour but never white as in the pseudo- pterostigma of the female demoiselles.


Status: - Occurs throughout main land Britain and Ireland. In some areas it is locally confined or absent which may be the result of a lack of suitable habitat.

Habitat: - Occupies a wide range of habitats from nutrient rich drainage ditches to bog pools. It favours shallow waters of canals, ponds and lakes with an abundance of tall aquatic vegetation.

Flight period: - Late June to the end of September.

General: - Copulation is a prolonged affair and can last in excess of one hour. Mating couples are usually found near the waters edge. Egg-laying takes place in tandem, with the eggs inserted into aquatic and emergent plants constructed of vascular tissue, where they rest throughout the winter. The pro larvae emerge in the spring to immediately transform into larvae that actively hunt. With the exploding spring time food chain they grow rapidly and in only 2-3 months are able to emerge as adult damselflies. If conditions are inappropriate for full growth in a single season, the final instar may occasionally over winter. The over wintering eggs allow this species to exploit ephemeral water bodies, which occasionally dry out and refill as a result of the autumn / winter rains.

The narrative was kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick

All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

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