Coenagrion puella (Linnaeus, 1758)
Type locality: Europe, no locality data available.
This sleek, pale blue damselfly is one of the commonest odonates in large parts of Europe, but localised in North Africa. Males are usually recognised by the black ‘U’ on S2 and two-spiked markings on the abdomen. Longer and thinner than most similar species, such as Enallagma cyathigerum. The male is light blue, typically with a narrow but complete antehumeral stripe, black ‘U’ on S2 and apical fifths of S3-5 with black rings. A thin black spike extends from these rings on each side (absent on S3 in pale specimens), almost reaching segment bases. Typical females are (bluish) green, with the entire abdominal upperside black, and are best identified by the pronotal hindborder. Male upper appendages are distinctly shorter than lower, widely separated from each other and with inward-directed hooks at tips (view from above). The wide gap between the upper appendages is unique among related species. Hind margin of female pronotum is wavy, forming three very shallow lobes. Males vary greatly in the extent of the black markings, and care is required to use these characters. In north-west Africa, males have two black spots on S8, which are absent or smaller elsewhere, and these are sometimes considered as the subspecies kocheri, but similar males from Spain suggest the variation is gradual. A pale variety of the female has the basal fifths of S3-6 blue, the black markings on these segments being three-toothed. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]
Standing waters, streams and possibly rivers in open landscapes. Usually with emergent and often aquatic vegetation, probably especially pools in stream beds. From 0 to 2100 m above sea level.
Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.
- Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. (10th ed) Odonata, 543-546.
Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. http://addo.adu.org.za/ [2023-09-23].