Red-eyed Damselfly

Erythromma najas


The red-eyed damselfly is a small but robust damselfly of canals and slow-flowing rivers, ponds and lakes where it can often be seen sitting on lily pads. It is on the wing from the end of May through to August. Damselfly larvae have three leaf-like appendages at the ends of their bodies. When the larvae of damselflies are ready to turn into adults, they emerge from the water and moult their larval skin, leaving behind a cast known as an 'exuviae' - look for these on emergent vegetation around the edges of ponds and canals.

How to identify

The red-eyed damselfly is mostly black in colour with a pale blue band at the end of the body, blue patches on the thorax and bright, blood-red eyes. It is more robust than the blue-tailed damselfly, which doesn't have red eyes. The small red-eyed damselfly is very similar but a little smaller and more delicate with orangey-red eyes.

Where to find it

Southern and central England, spreading north and into Wales.

When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including the red-eyed damselfly. But these precious sites are under threat from development, drainage and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Red-eyed Damselfly
Latin name
Erythromma najas
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 3.5cm
Conservation status