Small Red-eyed Damselfly - Erythromma viridulum


Length: 29mm. A small damselfly with a dark abdomen and a blue tip in the male. The eyes of the male are brownish red and the thorax in both sexes is bronze black on top. The female has complete, thin green or blue ante-humeral lines.

Similar Species

Very similar to the Red-eyed Damselfly but smaller and more slender. The Small Red-eyed Damselfly can be distinguished by the blue marking on the tail of the male which is relatively large and distinctly wedge-shaped. The bottom of segment 8 is blue and the top appears dark brown. In the Red-eyed Damselfly, the blue stops abruptly on segments 9 and 10.

Identification difficulty

Found on ponds, lakes and ditches and sometimes on brackish water. It seems to be associated with floating vegetation such as Hornwort and Water Milfoil and is often attracted to dense algal mats.

When to see it

Late June to September.

Life History

A migrant species that is increasing in numbers in Britain.

UK Status

Recent colonist in Britain (first records 1999). Local but spreading spectacularly through south-east England and the Isle of Wight.

VC55 Status

Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland, but increasing numbers being recorded in our area since its arrival here in 2006. 

Further Information

Having been recorded in the UK for the first time in 1999, the phenomenal northward spread of the Small Red-eyed Damselfly has been well documented. By 2004 the species was present to within 10km of the Leicestershire border in both Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. 2006 finally saw its arrival in VC 55, with the first record being on the 22nd July at Priory Water. Between this date and early September 2006 records came from a further six sites in central and North East Leicestershire and a single site in Rutland. The Small Red-eyed Damselfly shows a preference for ponds and small lakes with an abundance of floating vegetation, and is often attracted to dense algal mats. As such it seems likely to extend its foothold in VC 55 in the near future.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map