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Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum)

Favours slow moving water pools or ponds and quite localised in Shropshire and the months of June and July may prove productive! First impression is of a 'dark' blue Damselfly and on closer examination, it will be more slender in appearance. The darkness is due to the extensive black markings on the abdominal segment and thorax. The antehumeral blue stripes on the top of the thorax are usually incomplete and resemble a pair of exclamation marks! Be warned these stripes can be complete, especially in the females. The U shaped mark on segment 2 resembles a wine glass.

These two images show the classic exclamation marks quite nicely - note the 'vampire bat' on segment 9 ....

sbgallery Variable Damselfly male  Ludham 16 6 11 IMG_3007

Variable Damselfly

This male shows complete antehumeral blue stripes, otherwise similar features present....

Variable Damselfly male with blue antehumeral stripes  Berrington 9 7 10 IMG_2351

Another male with complete antehumeral but the three lobed rear edge to the pronotum and wine glass on segment 2 confirm it is indeed a Variable Damselfly

Variable Damselfly male cu for ID detail Berrington 8 7 17 FA1A9038

Females come in two different colour forms. The image below shows typical mature 'dark' form with green thorax and base colour to abdomen. Note the coloured bridge between the eye spots, this is a useful indicator to distinguish Variable from Azure Damselfly...

Variable Damselfly female Berrington 8 7 17 FA1A9155

Variable Damselfly female detail Berrington 8 7 17 FA1A9135

Here are two more examples of female variable Damselfly, these are immature females.

Variable Damselfly female Berrington 1 5 11 IMG_1477

Variable Damselfly female Shomere  9 6 12 IMG_3650

A typical female 'blue form' which is similar to female Azure Damselfly but having more blue on segments 4 and 5...

Variable Damselfly female blue form Shomere 10 6 12 IMG_3934

A clearer image of female 'blue form' with blue markings as seen above. The 'more than 1/3 coverage of blue' on segment 4 and 5 with blue holds true...

Variable Damselfly female BLUE form Berrington 4 6 12 Raw edit IMG_3286

A pair mating, note the (lower) female is the dark form with all black abdomen and green thorax....

Variable Damselfly pair mating 10 6 12 IMG_3992

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