Coenagrion pulchellum (Variable Bluet/Variable Damselfly)
The curiously named Variable Bluet/Damselfly – curious because most Coenagrions exhibit a certain amount of variability in their markings.
We made our inaugural trip to the excellent Wicken Fen rather late in the 2011 season. I was hoping to see my first Variable Damselfly and lo, it delivered. We found a pleasing flush of these characters on our return to Norfolk after many years in 2013, pleasing because they are not a species that features locally. More recent pictures are from the Norfolk Broads area, which seems to be very rich in C. pulchellum.
- bears the Coenagrion “spur” on the side of the thorax
- antehumeral stripes are classically broken resembling exclamation marks
- ♂ – S9 more than half black
- ♂ – black mark on S2 resembles a stemmed wine glass (but the stem can be missing, apparently)
- ♂ – black mark on S9 resembles a vampire bat (perhaps a little fanciful)
- ♀ – two forms, green/dark and blue, best distinguished from congeners by the pronotum shape [Ed: good luck!]