Variable Damselfly and the joys of identification…

By April 30, 2021 Blog

Jim Almond has spotted this fabulous female Variable Damselfly at a private site near Shrewsbury. The photographs illustrate the challenges of identification. Variables (as the name suggests) can be very Variable and the females are challenging as they look very like the female blue form of the common and widespread Azure damselfly. Things to look for (below right) are a pale bar between the eye spots and a more deeply lobed pronotum than that seen in the Azure. Also (below left) there is a greater percentage of blue coloration on abdominal segments 4 and 5 than seen in Azure. If blue reaches more than a third of the way along the segment this indicates a Variable. Jim and I have both had the rulers out and agree it’s 42-43%….so there we have it!

If you’re new to ID please don’t be put off as most identifications are far easier than this!