Belongs to: damselflies

Large red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Best time to see: mid May to mid Jul

Key facts

Distinctive red-and-black damselfly, often the first to be seen in spring

Habitat: a variety of wetland habitats ranging from moorland bogs to lowland water bodies as well as brackish water

Widespread and common in the British Isles and across much of northern Europe


Red with extensive black markings and black legs, and some bronze on the abdomen

Usually seen perched on waterside vegetation or flying out to investigate possible competitors or mates

Fly from mid-May to mid-July in southern England


Females lay eggs in submerged vegetation or under floating leaves, in tandem with the male

Larvae live in vegetation or in mud at the bottom, taking two years to develop

They emerge over a short period in spring

© Gordon Chalk

© Charles J Sharp

© Tony Gunton