The Variable Damselfly
This damselfly is one species that I would consider to be very localised and uncommon in my part of the United Kingdom. I have only recently encountered a small colony on a River Kennet backwater.
They may be seen in flight from late May / early June, through to mid August. They are best seen in mid June / July when they are fully mature having attained their full blue colouration.
The male Variable Damselfly can only really be confused with the Azure Damselfly. They are similar in stature but the Variable is much darker with more extensive black body markings.
The wine glass mark on segment two is much larger and is far more prominent than in the Azure Damselfly and has a stem at its base. Also the black tail markings on the abdomen are unique.
The thoracic stripes on the Variable are broken across their length and resemble an exclamation mark. However it must be said tha these can vary in size and shape and I wonde if that is how the species got its very appropriate name.
Females are far less common and are best identified whilst in the company of males of the species. When at the same site as the Azure they can be indistinguishable. Females tend to spend a lot of their time away from the colony of males.