Description male female larva Irish distribution

Ischnura elegans

Ischnura elegans (Vander Linden, 1823)


Common name: Blue-tailed Damselfly

Preferred environment: Ubiquitous occurring in most types of water apart from very upland sites and fast running water.

Flight period: Bivoltine, March to October, in southern part of range. Univoltine, May to September, in most of central and Northern Europe. In Ireland univoltine, beginning of May to mid September

Adult habitat and habits: adults mature rapidly in this species. Both sexes stay close to breeding sites. Mating is prolonged, often lasting 3-6 hours. Catch prey in flight or by gleaning insects off leaves and spider webs.

Oviposition site and behaviour: eggs are laid within plant tissue. Female oviposits alone often laying late in day when male activity much reduced.

Larval habitat and habits: larvae occur amongst aquatic vegetation. Feed on micro-crustaceans and insect larvae. Most larvae emerge within one year, but small proportion wait a further year.

Emergence behaviour: on vertical stems of low growing plants close to water's edge. Often emerges in inverted position.

Range: throughout Europe to southern Fennoscandia. Absent from Iberia. Middle East and Asia to China. Occurs throughout Ireland.

Determination of adults: species is keyed and diagnostic characters are figured in Askew (1988). Adults of both sexes, including colour forms of females, are illustrated in colour in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997).

Determination of larvae: keys to mature larvae in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997). Photograph of mature larva in Brooks (1997).


Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (May 2). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/


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