Ischnura elegans (Blue-tailed Damselfly)

Though ubiquitous, this is one of my personal favourites. It’s a particularly delicate damsel but it’s the glittering array of five female colour forms that adds to the fascination and, I might say, complication. Beware, though, of confusing the immature males, which have a turquoise thorax, with being one of the female variations.

Id Notes

  • bi-coloured pterostigma
  • ♂ – dorsal side of abdomen bronze-black except S8 which is blue
  • ♂ – blue side of thorax and antehumeral stripes
  • imm. ♂ – green but still with dark dorsal side to abdomen
  • ♀ – five colour variations, some being immature versions (see photos)
in cop


Naming of Female Forms

As if the confusion of having various colour forms weren’t enough, we now have naming confusion thrown into the mix. The “traditional” names assigned to the five female colour forms were apparently not good enough for Klaas-Douwe B. Dijkstra who, in his otherwise excellent reference work, saw fit to assign them different names (and rather boring names, IMHO). Thanks a bunch, Klaas-Douwe! Here is my attempt at making sense of the resultant mess.
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