Swamp Bluet Damselfly

The Swamp Bluet (Coenagrion lyelli) is a medium-sized insect in the Coenagrionidae family of damselflies, similar to a dragonfly. It lives across the globe in most climates, near streams, pools, and lakes.

The Swamp Bluet male is bright blue with black markings. The abdomen is long and slender with ten segments. It has compound eyes (like house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on its forehead. It has small antennae.

The joint between head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head.

Swamp Bluet Damselfly

Swamp Bluet Damselfy

The Swamp Bluet has forewings and hindwings, which are similar in appearance and are membranous. The wings are strengthened and supported by longitudinal veins that are linked by many cross-veins and that are filled with haemolymph (a liquid like blood).

The Swamp Bluet eats flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects. It uses vision and smell to catch its prey. Birds, fish, frogs, spiders, beetles and other animals eat damselflies.

Like dragonflies, the mating pair of damselflies form a shape known as a “heart” or “wheel.” The female lays eggs inside plants.

It is an hemimetabolous insect, which means that it has no pupal stage in its life cycle. The life cycle is: egg, larva (nymph), and adult damselfly. The young damselflies (nymphs) are aquatic, living near ponds, lakes and rivers. The nymphs moult repeatedly to undergo metamorphosis. The skin splits down the back, and they emerge and inflate their wings and abdomen to gain their adult form.

Its presence on a body of water indicates that the water is relatively unpolluted.

Location of photograph: Canberra, Australia

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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