AppearanceThis is a large damselfly with a total length of up to 48 millimetres and a hindwing length of up to 36 millimetres.
Male and female are variable in color and pattern. The male has translucent wings which each have a broad, dark iridescent blue-black spot across the outer part. On immature dragonflies the spot is dark brown. The body can be a metallic blue or bluish green or a combination of both colours, depending on the time of year and location.
The dark wing patch of the male starts at the nodus but can reach up to the wing-tip in southern races. In the very similar beautiful demoiselle , the dark patch starts before the nodus.
The female has translucent, pale green iridescent wings with a white patch near the tip , and a metallic green or bronze/green body.
BehaviorMales are usually territorial, but large numbers can sometimes be found in lush bankside plants and on floating objects. They court females by opening their wings and performing an aerial dance. They are usually found in canals and quiet rivers with muddy bottoms located in open country.
HabitatThis species lives in many types of freshwater habitat, particularly open running water bodies such as streams and smaller rivers.
ReproductionFemales can lay up to 10 eggs per minute for 45 minutes. They lay in a wide variety of emergent or floating plants, sometimes even submerging to do so.
The eggs hatch after 14 days. The larvae have very long legs and are stick-shaped. They develop over two years, usually. They tolerate muddy water and overwinter buried in mud. When they are ready to moult into an adult, they climb up a suitable reed or plant and shed their skin.
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