Lestes dryas | Scarce Emerald Damselfly | Spré-eiteach Turlaigh



Conservation status

Ireland: Near Threatened

EU: Least Concern

There are historic records from sites through the Irish midlands and in the south and east, but it was lost from most of these before the mid 1980s.  Due to evidence of decline in the east prior to 2000 and the poor current status and future prospects for turloughs, the species is evaluated as Near Threatened.

Native status


Species Biology


Length: 4cm

Wingspan: 4.7cm

Both sexes have a dark brown pterostigma near the tip of their wings and they are both a metallic green that bronzes with age. The wings are clear but may have a slight brown tint with age. Males have bright blue eyes and a frosted blue colour on segment 1 and the first half of segment 2, this colour also covers segment 9 and 10 entirely.

Females have a broader abdomen, two square marks on the first segment of their abdomen. Their eyes are brown, and the tip of their abdomen is clubbed.

Adult habitat & habits

The emeralds are the only damselflys to rest with their wings partially open


Prefers shallow still waters with an abundance of emergent plants and marginal vegetation (water horsetail, rushes, bulrush). Their habitats tend to be naturally fluctuating wetlands, including turloughs. Some colonies have been found at the backwaters of canals and man-made ponds.

Flight period

June to September (occasionally April)


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Found in central Ireland, Clare to Wicklow and north as far as Sligo, although rarer in the east. Absent from the north and south west.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2024

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