Coenagrion pulchellum | Variable Damselfly | Goirmín luaineach



Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern

EU: Least Concern

The species is relatively abundant but appears to be suffering from a slow decline.

Native status


Species Biology


Length: 3.3cm                                                                                                                                                                                          

Wingspan: 4.2cm                                                                                                                                                                                   

Both sexes have translucent wings with a black dot near the tip and a thin blue line in between eye spots. Males have a blue abdomen with black markings, the sixth segment is nearly all black and segment seven is entirely black. Segment 8 is blue and nine is almost entirely black. Black "spur" on side of thorax.

The second segment has a black wineglass-shaped mark. Females tend to be larger and mainly black with a green head and thorax. The three-lobed pronotum distinctively separates them from other damselflies. Antehumeral stripes distinctly waisted.

Adult habitat & habits

Most dominant damselfly at small lakes, stays close to vegetation much like the Azure damselfly.


Prefers lowland areas and areas of mesotrophic freshwater habitats, e.g fens, ponds and lakes. Ideal breeding sites would consist of clean, good quality and still or sometimes slow-flowing water, an abundance of aquatic vegetation, small sites sometimes sheltered but not shaded. Rarely seen around flowing water. 

Flight period

May to August (occasionally in April and/or September)


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Widespread throughout much of Ireland, particularly from the Shannon Estuary to Lough Neagh. Restricted in regions due to upland areas and oligotrophic waters.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2024

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