Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum

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Length

23-30mm; Wingspan: Male 42mm; Female 42mm; Hindwing 16-23mm

Male

Coenagrion Spur’ on side of thorax, also present on Azure Damselfly, but absent on Common Blue Damselfly. Antehumeral stripes are usually broken, sometimes they can be absent or complete. Wine glass marking on segment two of the abdomen. Segment nine contains a square with three points (three pointed crown). Overall appears more slender and darker than the similar Azure Damselfly. Can be confirmed by the strongly trilobate margins of the pronotum.

Male Variable Damselfly at Broomfleet Washlands on 19/05/2010 - © Paul Ashton

Female

‘Coenagrion Spur’ on side of thorax, also present on Azure Damselfly, but absent on Common Blue Damselfly. Antehumeral stripes are usually complete. Black thistle shape on segment two. Blue form, blue on top of the abdomen. Dark form, similar to Azure Damselfly is not as numerous. Overall appears bluer than the similar Azure Damselfly.

Note: The shape of the pronotum is the only conclusive way to seperate this species from Azure Damselfly. Personal observations have highlighted that female Variable Damselflies have a bar between the eye spots, which is absent in Azure Damselfly.

Variable Damselfly at Broomfleet Washlands on 11/05/2009 - © Paul Ashton

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Gallery

Variable Damselfly Gallery

Behaviour

Mainly encountered near the waters margins. Immatures often found in adjacent grassy areas. Shelter in the lee of bushes or hedgerows in windy weather.

Habitat

Stagnant or slow moving water such as grazing-marshes, ditches, ponds, lakes and canals which are well vegetated. Can be restricted to small colonies despite there being obvious surrounding suitable habitat.

Flight Period

National: Late April to mid-August, though more usually mid-May to early August.
Yorkshire: Mid-May to late June.

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Status

After a tentative report in 2006, now confirmed as being present in East Yorkshire. Currently restricted to the Broomfleet Washlands complex. This is currently the only species present in Yorkshire that is of national importance due to its near threatened status.

Locations

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