AH's picture

What is this Damselfly

Observed: 2nd May 2011 By: AH
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
AH’s reputation in Invertebrates
I-Spot pics

Alot of Azure damselflies around but not sure if this is one.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Ray Turner's picture


Fairly sure this is a blue form female Azure. The narrow antehumeral stripes rule out Common Blue.


Ray Turner's picture


There are a number of problems with an identification as Dainty Damselfly C. scitulum: firstly according to Brooks in Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland, British Wildlife Publishing 2007 (page 85) it’s extinct in Britain!

If this were a Dainty it would be female (lack of all blue segments 8 & 9 and lacks the characteristic markings on S 1&2). Unfortunately identification of females is a bit harder and we can’t see the pterostigma which would help nor can we see the pronotum well enough, which would be diagnostic. However I think the antehumeral stripes are too narrow for Common Blue and to me the pattern on S 3-7 doesn’t look right for Dainty (though I accept there is room for variation), too much blue and wrong shape in this specimen.

I have to admit the pattern of S8 is a little worrying for an Azure though – I would love to see a side on photo.


I’m sure RoyW will be along in a minute and put us right definitively :-)


debbieC's picture


Yes, Same book, but 2002 print, but that'll teach me not to skim the text. Hope Roy is right!!


RoyW's picture

A blue form female Azure.

The blue on the eight abdomen segment may be a little bit more extensive than on many female Azures, but it is not outside normal variation.
IMO this is a fairly normal blue form female - the pronotum may be out of focus but it is visible, and the shape seems to fit Azure well. In addition the lack of a pale bar between the post occular spots points towards Azure.

With regard to the Dainty Damselfly, Brooks is (hopefully) out of date. A few individuals were discovered on private land in north Kent last summer, more or less just across the Thames from the previous UK colonies that were lost in the 1950's. These may well be recent immigrants, but if so will hopefully manage to establish themselves - it's also possible that they have been present in the area since the 1950's but overlooked.

AH's picture


Thank you for the comments on the Azure damselfly, it was very interesting and will help me to look at different markings in the future.

Ray Turner's picture

Good News

Thanks Roy and that is good news about the Dainty.