Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea

European common name: Downy Emerald

The Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea, is a metallic green dragonfly with a distinctly clubbed tail and prominent bright green eyes. Uncommon in Bedfordshire, restricted to a few local sites.

Only a couple of photos – more will be added when I visit Sandhouse Lane again when hopefully I can find one that remains still long enough!


CorduliidaeEmerald Dragonflies

Mid-sized dragonfly and the only Emerald dragonfly species found in Bedfordshire.

Both sexes have a very distinctive metallic green body, noticeably hairy when seen more closely, and bright green eyes.

The male abdomen has a narrow second segment that gives it a ‘waisted’ appearance, before becoming more bulbous at segments 6 and 7 and finally tapering towards the tip.

Females closely resemble the male but have a straighter and thicker abdomen.

Wings are clear with long, thin, dark ptersostigma. There are small amber patches at the base of each wing.

Overall length: 47 – 55 mm
Wings: 31 – 34 mm

Not easily confused with anything else that occurs within Bedfordshire’s borders. The lack of thoracic or abdominal markings, combined with its metallic green sheen, separate it from species other than other emerald dragonflies, none of which are to be found locally.

Favours ponds with surrounding woods. Usually seen flying over water, they seldom settle for long but do fly up into nearby trees.

Very restricted in Bedfordshire, and found only at a few local sites in the south-west of the county around the Leighton Buzzard – Heath and Reach area. I have seen them at Sandhouse Lane, but haven’t managed to get many useable photographs.

They have been reported more recently further afield at Felmersham NR and in Bromham, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for them.

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

Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea Male at Sandhouse Lane NR.
Male Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea
Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea Male at Sandhouse Lane NR.
Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea

External links for Downy Emerald – Cordulia aenea:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia