Lestes sponsa | Emerald Damselfly | Spré-eiteach Coiteann



Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern

EU: Least Concern

There is no evidence of any change in its distribution or abundance.

Native status


Species Biology


Length: 3.8cm

Wingspan: 4.5cm

Both sexes have a brown wing-spot, wings are tinted brown when immature but become clear in mature adults. Males have a metallic green abdomen which transforms into a bronze colour before the frosted blue segments, 9 and 10, at the tip. Segments 1 and 2 have a frosted blue colour, Abdominal segment 2 is wholly powder blue in mature males. Males eyes are light brown when immature but blue in mature adults. Male appendages: inner appendages are straight and outer appendages are curved.

Adult habitat & habits

The emeralds are the only Damselflies to rest with their wings partly open. Wings are held open at a 45° to the body when at rest. 


Prefers small habitats of acid still water and large amounts of vegetation (rushes, sedges, common reed and horsetail) e.g. small lakes and ponds, bog pool. Absent from running water habitats. Prefers aquatic habitats with few fish as their highly active larvae are susceptible to predation.  

Flight period

June to September (occasionally May and/or October)


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Common all throughout Ireland, particularly lowland areas, even recorded on offshore islands. Not regularly seen in the south east.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2024

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