Large red damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

©Margaret Holland

Large red damselfly

Scientific name: Pyrrhosoma nymphula
If you have a garden pond, look out for the Large red damselfly resting at the water's edge. As the name suggests, males are bright red with a black thorax, but females may be almost entirely black.

Species information


Length: 3.6cm

Conservation status


When to see

April to August


The Large red damselfly is a medium-sized damselfly that lives around the edges of ponds, lakes, ditches and canals, and can also be found away from breeding sites in grassland and woodland. The earliest damselfly to emerge in the UK, it is on the wing from the end of April through to August. It is a regular visitor to gardens.

How to identify

Male Large red damselflies are bright red with a black thorax and black bands towards the end of the body. The amount of red and black on the females' abdomens varies, with some forms appearing almost entirely black. The similar Small red damselfly is a much rarer species that is only found on heathlands in the south of England and West Wales. It is smaller, more delicate and has less red than its larger relative.



Did you know?

Most adult Large red damselflies emerge from the pond at the same time: over a short period of just three weeks in the spring.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.