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

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

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 36mm - Wing Span 40mm (male): 48mm (female).
Male: - The male (see above) has red eyes with a black band passing though them. There are two red stripes on the black upper surface of the thorax. The abdomen is deep red with fine black stripes at the segment boundaries.

The upper surface of segments 7 to 9 sport three black bands separated by two broad areas of red. A key feature to remember is that the legs are black.

Female: - The female (see below) is obviously larger than the male, the abdomen being up to 3 times as thick. The eyes and legs match those of the male. There are 3 female colour forms. The 2 types of red female carry significantly more black on the abdomen than the male. The black segments of the abdomen are not separated by wide red bands and the abdominal segment joints are delineated with fine lines in both black and yellow. The upper surface of the thorax closely resembles that of the male except in the all black form where the antehumeral stripes are yellow. 

DSC_0745 Large e-mail view

Status: - Common and very wide spread throughout Britain & Ireland.

Habitat: - Early colonizer of newly created garden ponds, frequents well vegetated ponds, ditches, canals, and the stiller waters of rivers.

Flight period: - Late April to the end of August.

General: - One of only two red species of damselfly in the UK and Ireland’s only red species. Males defend territory from conveniently sited tall vegetation. Copulation takes about 15 minutes and is followed by egg-laying in tandem. Eggs are inserted into the undersides of floating and submerged plant stems and leaves. The highly synchronised emergence at the beginning of the Odonata flight season means that this is probably the first damselfly of the year encountered by most observers. A second unsynchronised emergence is sometimes apparent in mid summer.

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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