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Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

Extremely common in Shropshire and likely to be found in a wide variety of habitats near to still or slow flowing water. First impression is of a 'black bodied' Damselfly apart from abdominal segment 8 which is a clear and striking blue. The thorax of males is normally blue (green forms are known), black on top with narrow blue antehumeral stripes. Five color forms of the female are known - most of these are seen below.....

A typical male with metallic black abdomen and narrow, blue antehumeral stripes ....

Blue-tailed Damselfly

A side view of the male showing the blue coloured S8 and the diamond shaped 'two tone' wing spots.

Blue tailed Damselfly male side view Berrington 15 8 10 IMG_4312

An immature male with metallic black abdomen, the thorax and antehumeral stripes are green ....

Blue tailed Damselfly immature male  Titterstone Clee 9 7 11 IMG_3689

The female (rufescens) form which represents the early stage of development after emergence........

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Blue tailed Damselfly immature female  rufescens Titterstone Clee 9 7 11 IMG_3745

rufescens seen from the side........

Blue tailed Damselfly immature female rufescens side Titterstone Clee 9 7 11 IMG_3739

As rufescens matures the thorax and blue abdominal segment become yellow-brown - this mature form, is known as rufescens-obsoleta.

Blue tailed Damselfy f rufescens obsoleta female Titterstone Clee 5 7 15 Raw edit IMG_0293

There is a second immature female form (and one of the most striking!) called violacea. This has a violet thorax with mid dorsal / humeral black stripes and a blue segment 8.

sbgallery Blue tailed Damselfly female violacea Berrington Pool 8 6 16 raw edit IMG_9375

violacea can develop into two mature female forms. Seen below is infuscans with olive green thorax, black thoracic stripes and brown segment 8..

Blue tailed Damselfy female infuscans Titterstone Clee 5 7 15 Raw edit IMG_0319

I'm still trying to observe the female andromorph form which has a male-like color pattern / broader abdomen......

The female blue-tailed varieties might appear complex but that's part of the fun when observing damselflies :-)

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