Pyrrhosoma nymphula | Large Red Damselfly | Earr-rua an Earraigh



Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern

EU: Least Concern

The population is not considered threatened.  

Native status


Species Biology


Length: 3.6cm

Wingspan: 4.8cm

Both sexes have bright, red eyes, a yellow underside of the thorax and a dark brown wing spot. They’re wings have a slight brown tint when immature but become clear when a mature adult. Males are vibrant red with black markings towards the tip of the abdomen. Both sexes have antehumeral marks that resemble an exclamation mark.

Females can exist in several different forms but are mainly distinguished by the amount of black they have on the dorsal surface of their abdomen. Their most common form is a darker version of the male.

Adult habitat & habits

They are not very territorial but can act quite aggressively towards other large red damselflies and also smaller damselflies, sometimes tackling them to the ground.


Mainly found in bog pool, small lakes, canals, ditches, drains and streams. They can tolerate mild pollution. Particularly abundant in water-bodies with large quantities of floating vegetation (broad-leaved pondweed). 

Flight period

April to August, usually the first species on the wing, (occasionally March and/or September).


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Very common all throughout Ireland, particularly the south west and north.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

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