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

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)

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 31mm - Wing Span 35mm.
Male: - The male (see above) is smaller than the Large Red Damselfly. The Small Red has pale red legs; the upper surface of its thorax is black with no antehumeral stripes. The abdomen is bright red with no black markings. When at rest the abdomen is often bent slightly down at the tip resembling a miniature hockey stick.

Female: - The female (see below) is another species with three colour forms. The abdomen can be red throughout with the segment joints outlined with a fine black line. The last two thirds of the abdomen may be black with the segment joints highlighted by fine yellow bands. The final colour forms’ upper surface is black throughout with each abdominal segment joint finely highlighted. The pale red legs are diagnostic.


Status: - This nationally scarce but some times locally abundant species which favours lowland heaths and currently seems to be expanding its territory.

Habitat: - Can be found in southern Britain on acidic runnels and pools, old brick pits, shallow unshaded ponds with an abundance of sphagnum moss at the margins.

Flight period: - Commonly seen from the end of May to early September.

General: - This weak-flying damselfly is to be seen hovering only centimetres above shallow heathland pools and runnels, flitting in and out of low marginal vegetation or perched on algal mats and other low level bog vegetation. Males may be territorial; battles between males often result in a movement around the water body rather than any individual being driven to leave the site.

Copulation is usually performed within the low level emergent vegetation and can last for over 40 minutes. Egg-laying takes place in tandem with the males abdomen disposed vertically and the thorax angled at about 120 degrees. This species is often seen in the company of Black Darter, Keeled Skimmer, Emerald Damselfly and other heathland bog species. When setting out to photograph this species a stout plastic bag in ones kit, upon which to kneel, is recommended.

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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