Willow Emerald Damselfly

©Margaret Holland

Willow emerald damselfly

Scientific name: Chalcolestes viridis
A recent colonist to South East England, the metallic-green Willow emerald damselfly spends much of its time in the willow and alder trees that overhang ponds, lakes and canals.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 3.9-4.7cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to August

About

The Willow emerald damselfly is a recent colonist, with numbers recorded increasing since 2009. It spends much of its time in the trees, laying its eggs into the bark of willow or alder. It can be found near ponds, canals and other still waterbodies that have overhanging trees. As with other damselflies, when Willow emeralds mate they form a 'mating wheel' in which the male clasps the female by the neck and she bends her body around to his reproductive organs. It is on the wing during August and September.

How to identify

The Willow emerald damselfly is metallic green. The upper appendages of the males are distinctively pale cream with dark tips. Unlike other damselflies, emerald damselflies, including the Willow emerald, spread their wings at an angle to their body when at rest.

Distribution

Found in south-east Suffolk, south-east Norfolk, Essex and Kent.

Did you know?

A recent colonist, the Willow emerald damselfly was first recorded in the UK in East Anglia in 2007.

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.