Large red damselfly

  • Scientific name: Pyrrhosoma nymphula
  • Type: Insects

Key information

Widespread in the UK, this species has a red abdomen with dark markings towards the end. Males tend to be more vibrant. It is often the first damselfly to be seen in spring, from late March.

The male is aggressive, fighting off other males entering his territory. Damselflies rest with their wings folded lengthways along their body (unlike dragonflies, which rest with wings outspread).

During mating the male clasps the female by her neck while she bends her body around to his reproductive organs – the shape that this creates is called a mating wheel. The pair fly together over the water and eggs are laid within a suitable plant, just below the surface.

The eggs hatch and the larvae, called nymphs, live in the water. Nymphs eventually climb out of the water up a suitable stem to emerge from their split skins as damselflies.

What they eat:

Small insects, snatched from vegetation.


Up to 36mm
Up to 48mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Bog garden Pond

Where and when to see them

Large red damselflies can be seen resting on vegetation near water. Along slow-flowing rivers, lakes, ponds, bogs and canals.

From late March until September.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec