Ischnura – Bluetails – Blue-tailed Damselflies – Forktails (N A)
Common Bluetail – Blue-tailed Damselfly – Ischnura elegans – UK European Dragonfly photo
The Common Bluetail ( Ischnura elegans )being one of the most abundant and common damselflies throughout Europe is frequently encountered. It is tolerant of both brackish and even mildly polluted waters. It is yet another species where northerly expansion of its range in the UK has been substantial over the past few decades. There is overlap of the Common Bluetail with the Iberian Bluetail ( Ischnura graellsii ) in Spain and Portugal and also with the Island Bluetail ( Ischnura genei) which is endemic to the Mediterranean islands such as Corsica, Malta, Sardinia and Sicily. The photograph of the male on the Buttercup is living dangerously !
This species can also be contrasted with its congener from the northern edge of the Sahara, the Sahara Bluetail (Ischnura saharensis ).
KEY I/D FEATURES :
Mature males have blue eye-spots, blue ante-humeral stripes, blue sides to the thorax and blue covering Segment 8 on an abdomen which appears bronze – black. The pterostigma are two coloured on the forewings. With a hand lens the lower appendages can be seen to splay outwards.
Females can be found in three colour forms when immature ; Type A with a lilac thorax, Type B with a greenish thorax and Type C with a pink thorax. The photographs below of Type C females clearly show the absence of a black humeral stripe. Mature Type A females resemble the males with a more robust body.