Small Red-Eyed Damselfly

The Small Red-Eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridium) is an insect in the Coenagrionidae family of damselflies, which are similar to dragonflies.

The Small Red-Eyed Damselfly has a long, cylindrical, slender abdomen with ten segments. It has membranous forewings and hindwings. It has compound eyes (like the eyes of house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on its forehead, with small antennae. The joint between its head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head. 

Small Red-Eyed Damselfly

The male has bright red eyes, a bronze-black body with bright blue sides. The female has eyes that are brown above and yellow or green on the underside. The female has a bronze-black body with yellow, green, or blue sides. The rear end is rounded with a blue tip.

It grows to about 3 centimetres (one inch) long. 

It is common across Europe. It likes still and slow-moving water with floating plants. 

The Small Red-Eyed Damselfly 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 damselfies.

The life cycle is: egg, larva (nymph), and adult damselfly. It is an hemimetabolous insect, which means that it has no pupal stage in its life cycle.

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

The young damselflies (nymphs) are aquatic, living near ponds, lakes and rivers. They spend two years underwater in the larval stage. 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 shape. 

The adult is seen from June to September. 

Small Red-Eyed Damselfly

Location of photographs: Strasbourg, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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