Species of the Month - July 2013

Emerald Damselfly

Lestes Sponsa

This is a small flimsy damselfly with a weak fluttering flight.  It can be found by well-vegetated lochs and pools, and is often out in dull weather when other damselflies are not to be seen.

Lestes sponsa, pair in tandem

The female is more or less uniform green when seen from above, and pale brown from below, but the male, when mature, has pale blue on the rear and underside of the thorax, and on the first and last 2 abdominal segments.  The male is slimmer than the female for most of its length but has the final few segments swollen.  This photo by Jan Hamilton shows a pair in tandem.  Emerald damselflies can remain joined like this after mating until the female has finished laying her eggs.

Lestes sponsa, female

Females sometimes have the green replaced by a bronzy brown on parts of the abdomen, as here on the final two segments.  Females have brown eyes, mature males have blue ones and immature males have green ones.

Lestes sponsa male

This is a mature male, showing the pale blue areas.  The male's green abdomen is typically brighter and more metallic than that of the female.

Lestes sponsa, female   Lestes sponsa, female

Emerald Damselflies normally rest with their wings half-open, which at once distinguishes them from any other damselfly or dragonfly in our area.  But when settled in one place for a while they often close the wings, as in the second picture above.  These two are females.


Please send in your Emerald Damselfly sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your damselfly, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LORN forum and let me know it is there.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Number seen 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g habitat, behaviour   


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

15 Jul - One female seen in dull weather near the Lily Loch, Inverawe

21 Jul - Male and female seen by pool in burn, Inverawe

5 Aug - Cynthia spotted a couple on Rannoch Moor


Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Jun 2013 - Globe Flower
May 2013 - Early Purple Orchid
Apr 2013 - Peacock Butterfly
Mar 2013 - Oak Beauty
Feb 2013 - Coral Lungwort

Jan 2013 - Willow Jelly Button & Birch Jelly Button
Dec 2012 - Dice Lichen
Nov 2012 - Feathered Thorn
Oct 2012 - Dryad's Saddle
Sep 2012 - Tawny Grisette
Aug 2012 - Forest Bug
Jul 2012 - Grayling
Jun 2012 - Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids
May 2012 - Small Copper
Apr 2012 - Green Tiger Beetle
Mar 2012 - March Moth
Feb 2012 - Barren Strawberry
Jan 2012 - Brambling
Dec 2011 - Red Squirrel
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves
Oct 2011 - Small Tortoiseshell
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric
Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated