Peter Orchard's picture

Damselfly

Observed: 28th April 2011 By: Peter Orchard
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
Peter Orchard’s reputation in InvertebratesPeter Orchard’s reputation in InvertebratesPeter Orchard’s reputation in Invertebrates
Damselfly
Description:

This looks like none of the blue damselfies in my book. Not common blue, azure or blue tailed. What else is there?

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Martin Harvey's picture

Southern Damselfly

Peter, this is a lovely photo of the very rare (and legally protected) Southern Damselfly. I believe Wareham Common is one of its known sites, but still a fantastic thing to find. See the BDS website for further information:
http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/southern-damselfly

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Entomologist and biological recorder

RoyW's picture

S2 only helps ID males.

The 'distinctive' marking on the second abdomen segment will only help identify males (and there can be some variation in the shape even with them).
Female Southern Damselflies have the same shaped markings on this segment as other Coenagrion species (typically a "thistle head" shape - but in the blue forms the shape is sometimes similar to the marking on a male Southern). The shape of the rear edge of the pronotum (between the head and the thorax) is best used to identify females (wavy in Azure, almost straight but with a central point in Southern).

Martin Harvey's picture

Correction

Roy, thanks very much for that, I was completely unaware that the females could be so similar, although no doubt if I'd read my books properly I should have been aware! An excellent example of iSpot helping people to learn more about wildlife identification, and yet another reminder to me not to jump to conclusions too quickly.

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Entomologist and biological recorder

RoyW's picture

Female damselflies...

Female damselflies can be very tricky, not helped by the fact that there are two or more different colour forms for the females of most species (not to mention the problem of newly emerged individuals that are have not developed, or are developing, their full colours).

The blue form that can be seen in Coenagrion species (including Southern Damselfly), is generally far less numerous than the "green form" females - so often catches people out because it is something that they are not familiar with.