Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans

Photos

Various stages of Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans development, adult and immature males, the different female colour forms, and pairs in cop are all shown.

  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Pair in cop
    Pair "in cop" at Felmersham NR
    The female is the infuscans form
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Immature Male
    Immature male, River Great Ouse between Kempston and Bromham
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Female
    Female, River Great Ouse between Kempston and Bromham
    This is an andromorphic female. The colouring is very similar to an immature male
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Male
    Male, Felmersham NR
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Female
    Female, River Great Ouse between Kempston and Bromham.
    This is the rufescens form.
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Pair in cop
    Pair "in cop", River Great Ouse between Kempston and Bromham.
    The female is the andromorphic form
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Female
    Female,andromorphic form, Felmersham NR.
    This particular female has an infestation of mites, not uncommon amongst damselflies.
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Male
    Male, River Great Ouse, Roxton
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Pair in cop
    Pair in cop, River Great Ouse at Roxton
    The female is the rufescens-obsoleta form
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Female
    Female, River Great Ouse, Biddenham Country Loop
    This female is of the rufescens form
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Female
    Female, Felmersham NR
    This female is of the rufescens-obsoleta form
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  A3P5010
    Female, Felmersham NR
    This female is of the violacea form
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans:  Female
    Female, Felmersham NR
    This female is of the rufescens form
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Main features

Classification:

Odonata        
Zygoptera     Damselflies
  Coenagrionidae   Blue or red damselflies

Abundant damselfly - the most common in Bedfordshire, the distinctive blue tipped black abdomen of the male makes them easy to spot. Immature males have the same pattern, but the blue on the thorax is replaced by green.

Females are polymorphic, that is they exist in multiple colour forms, and these change further according to both age and genetics so that there are 5 different colour forms in total. This, and the immature phases (violacea and rufescens) lasting only a few days, can make identification more difficult.

The development of the different colour forms is summarised in the table below:

violacea    
Develops to either andromorph (same colouring as immature male)
or infuscans
rufescens    
Develops to rufescens-obsoleta

Habitat

Found almost anywhere where there is water, common around most rivers and ponds etc. More tolerant of polluted waters than most Odonata, and often the only species visible in poor weather.

Where to see

Virtually anywhere.

Seen between early May and late September