Emerald damselfly

Lestes sponsa


The emerald damselfly is a medium-sized damselfly which lives amongst lush vegetation around the edge of ponds and lakes, ditches and canals. Perched emerald damselflies can be distinguished from the other damselflies by their habit of holding their wings half-open, rather than closed along the length of their body. The last species of damselfly to emerge in the UK each year, they are on the wing from the end of June to September.

How to identify

Male emerald damselflies are metallic green, with pale powder-blue eyes. The tip of the abdomen is also blue, as is the thorax. Females are metallic green with pale beige stripes on the thorax. The scarce emerald damselfly is a much rarer species and looks very similar. It is confined to the south and east of the country.

Where to find it


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including the emerald damselfly. But these precious sites are under threat from development, drainage and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Emerald damselfly
Latin name
Lestes sponsa
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 3.8cm
Conservation status