Blue-tailed Damselfly

©Richard Burkmar

Blue-tailed damselfly

Scientific name: Ischnura elegans
The Blue-tailed damselfly does, indeed, have a blue tail. It is one of our most common species and frequents gardens - try digging a wildlife pond to attract dragonflies and damselflies.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 3.1cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to September

About

The Blue-tailed damselfly is a small, dark damselfly and one of the commonest species in the UK. It is particularly frequent around garden ponds, but can also be found near almost any waterbody and away from its breeding sites in grassland and woodland. It is on the wing from April to September. When the larvae of damselflies are ready to turn into adults, they emerge from the water and moult their larval skin, leaving behind a cast known as an 'exuviae' - look for these on emergent vegetation around the edges of waterbodies.

How to identify

The male Blue-tailed damselfly is mostly black in colour, with a pale blue band towards the end of the body, blue eyes and blue on the thorax. Females are variable in colour from blue to violet. The similar, but smaller, Scarce Blue-tailed damselfly is a much rarer species, found around temporary ponds in the south and west.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Damselflies can be distinguished from dragonflies by their smaller, more delicate bodies and by the way they hold their wings when at rest: closed and folded back along the length of their body. Dragonflies keep their stiff wings open and held out at right angles to their bodies.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.