Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Name

Erythromma viridulum (Charpentier, 1840)

Family:

Coenagrionidae

Status in Britain and Ireland:

widespread in southern, eastern and central England- recent colonist

Local Status:

NOT RECORDED

Size:

Overall body length 26-32mm
Hindwing length 16-20mm

Flight period:

July until mid September

Small Red-eyed Damselfly Male
Photograph © P.Taylor

Male Small Red-eyed Damselfly

The upper side of the body is black with metallic reflections from segments 2-8. The sides of segments 2-3 and 8 are blue with segments 9-10 completely blue. Segment 10 has a black ‘X’ at the tip. The thorax is black on top with either complete or partial antehumeral stripes. The thorax has blue sides with 2 black lines, the upper of which is a short spur. The eyes are red. The legs are pale with a some blue colouration on the femur. The wings are clear with yellowish brown pterostigma. When at rest the wings extend just beyond the join between segments 6 and 7.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly female
Photograph © E. Neilsen

Female Small Red-eyed Damselfly

The upper side of the body is black with small patches of blue at the base and tip of the abdomen. The thorax is black on top with complete antehumeral stripes. These stripes and the sides of the thorax can be yellow, green or blue depending upon the age of the individual. The eyes are reddish brown.

Similar Species

Red-eyed Damselfly is present at a number of sites in Shropshire and is very similar. It is a far more robust insect and the blue areas on the abdomen are more restricted being confined to segments 1,9 and 10. Red-eyed Damselfly has no black ‘X’ mark at the end of the abdomen and when at rest the wings extend further down the abdomen than the start of segment 7. In addition the females have short incomplete antehumeral stripes, not complete stripes as seen in Small Red-eyed Damselfly.

Behaviour

Males are often seen perched on floating vegetation with the end of the abdomen distinctively tilted upwards. Following copulation pairs oviposit in tandem into floating vegetation. Unlike the similar Red-eyed Damselfly, females rarely descend below the surface of the water to oviposit (Brooks & Cham, 2014).

Habitat

Ponds, lakes and ditches that are well vegetated with floating pondweed such as hornwort.

Shropshire Distribution

Not recorded.

The small red eyed damselfly was first recorded in Essex in 1999 and is now quite common in the southeast of England. Over the years it has been slowly moving northwards with records now from Worcestershire, Herfordshire and most recently in 2015 Cheshire. It would seem a recorded sighting in Shropshire is highly likely….soon…

Additional Photographs

Small Red-eyed Damselflies
Copulating pair. Photograph © J. Vant Leven

Where to see in Shropshire

Nowhere yet…..

 

National Distribution