Emerald damselfly

Emerald Damselfly

Male Emerald Damselfly ©David Martin

Emerald Damselfly

Female Emerald Damselfly ©Rachel Scopes

Emerald damselfly

Scientific name: Lestes sponsa
The metallic-green Emerald damselfly can be seen from June to September around ponds, lakes, ditches and canals. Unlike other damselflies, it holds its wings half-open when perched.

Species information


Length: 3.8cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


The Emerald damselfly is a medium-sized damselfly that lives among lush vegetation around the edges of ponds, lakes, ditches and canals. When perched, Emerald damselflies have a habit of holding their wings half-open, rather than closed along the length of their body like other damselflies. 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 similar Scarce emerald damselfly is a much rarer species that is confined to the south and east of the country.



Did you know?

The Emerald damselfly is also known as the 'Common spreadwing' due to its habit of resting with its wings half-open. It is found across Central Europe and Asia.

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.