Chalcolestes viridis (Western Willow Spreadwing/Willow Emerald Damselfly)

[Formerly known as Lestes viridis.]

The slight curiosity is that it lays its eggs in live branches overhanging water. Relatively large, though the males look quite delicate, they have a habit of hanging around in trees a lot. There’s a good population of them at our favourite southern French campsite. From their initial base in Suffolk, they are now spreading out into other parts of the UK. In 2016 they made it to our home county of Bedfordshire where, with luck, they will become established.

This is the latest damselfly to emerge. They have a late seson so that their eggs may overwinter in the tree branches in a state of diapause.

[I have a comparison chart showing the distinguishing features of our four emerald damselfly/spreadwing species.]

Id Notes

  • head, thorax and abdomen metallic green
  • large, pale pterostigma
  • prominent green sharp, spur-mark pointing forwards on side of thorax
  • ♂ – does not develop any pruinosity (cf. other Lestes)
  • ♀ – ovipositor dark but with a pale (whitish) lower border
in cop ovipositing
2 comments on “Chalcolestes viridis (Western Willow Spreadwing/Willow Emerald Damselfly)
  1. Harold Gough says:

    I fond this on 12 September 2022 at Decoy Heath, a local nature reserve in West Berkshire, occasionally resting on the leaves pf a small, pondside willow. I believe that to be their first record of the species.

    • JC says:

      Unfortunately there’s no way of attaching a photo to a comment on a page. I was away in France for September so have only just seen this entry. I’ll email.

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