Enallagma cyathigerum

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Common blue damselfly
Enallagma cyathigerum 14(loz).jpg
male
Damselfly 05 (MK).jpg
female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus: Enallagma
Species: E. cyathigerum
Binomial name
Enallagma cyathigerum
(Charpentier, 1840)

Enallagma cyathigerum (common blue damselfly, common bluet, or northern bluet) is a European damselfly. The species can reach a length of 32 to 35 mm (1.3 to 1.4 in). It is common in all of Europe, except for Iceland.

Identification[edit]

Thorax close-up

The common blue damselfly can be easily mistaken for the azure damselfly] (Coenagrion puella), but on the back and the thorax, the common blue damselfly has more blue than black; for the azure damselfly it is the other way around. The second segment of the thorax has a distinctive spot with a line below connecting to the third segment.

Another difference can be observed when inspecting the side of the thorax. The common blue damselfly has only one small black stripe there, while all other blue damselflies have two.

Oviposition on Marsilea quadrifolia

During mating, the male clasps the female by her neck while she bends her body around to his reproductive organs – this is called a mating wheel. The pair flies together over the water and eggs are laid within a suitable plant, just below the surface.

The eggs hatch and the larvae, called nymphs, live in the water and feed on small aquatic animals. Nymphs climb out of the water up a suitable stem to moult into damselflies.

Behaviour[edit]

This small, brightly coloured damselfly is probably the most common of dragonflies and damselflies throughout much of Britain. It inhabits a wide range of habitats, from small ponds to rivers. They are especially common at lakes and reservoirs.

This damselfly requires a close look for a beginner to distinguish them from an Azure Damselfly. Typically, they fly low through the reeds and often fly well out over the water, unlike azure damselflies. They are also a brighter blue than azures. They can be easy to get close to, but to tell them apart from an azure damselfly it is good to know what to look for.

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