White-legged Damselfly – Platycnemis pennipes

European common name: Blue Featherleg

The White-legged Damselfly – Platycnemis pennipes, is a common sight and easy to identify with its distinctive white legs.


PlatycnemididaeWhite-legged Damselflies

Large, pale blue damselfly, the male’s distinctive broad white legs makes this damselfly easy to identify even from a distance.

Much paler than other damselflies, and black markings on the upper surface of the abdomen are thin, or dived in two, adding to the pale appearance.

The female is a pale green-yellow in appearance, and may occur in a separate colour form called lactea, with minimal black markings on segments 2, 3, and 4.

Males will sometimes fly with their legs hanging as if in display (most Odonata retract their legs for aerodynamic advantage during flight).

Overall length: 35 – 37 mm
Wings: 19 – 23 mm

The White-legged Damselfly is generally paler than other damselflies and the male’s white ‘feathered’ legs are very noticeable even at a distance. Markings on the dorsal surface of the abdomen are much less extensive than other blue damselflies and are separated on either side of the medial line, the shoulder stripes are thin.

Prefers slow rivers with plenty of bank side vegetation, but also at still water sites, uses floating vegetation for ovipositing.

Common along the River Great Ouse, River Flit and River Ivel. I often see them on riverside walks between Kempston and Bromham. Also present at Felmersham NR, Bromham Lake NR, Priory CP,  Sandhouse Lane NR.

Visible from late May to late August, peaking in June and July.

White-legged Damselfly - Platycnemis pennipes Male, River Great Ouse near Bromham
Male White-legged Damselfly – Platycnemis pennipes
White-legged Damselfly - Platycnemis pennipes Pair in cop, between Kempston and Bromham
White-legged Damselfly pair– Platycnemis pennipes

External links for White-legged Damselfly – Platycnemis pennipes:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia