British Dragonfly Society - Sussex


White-Legged Damsels

White Legged Damselflies or Platycnemis pennipes, can be tricky to identify and their name doesn't always help. Although the species has white legs, other damselflies, such as the Bluetailed Damselfly, also share this feature.

Honing your identification skills is one of the great joys and challenges of wildlife observation. To attempt to determine a species of dragonfly or indeed any beast by just one feature places great demands on our skills. I personally apply a “Rule of 3”. If all three features are satisfied then you can be reasonably confident that a correct identification has been made.

In 90% of cases, you will be observing a male dragonfly, so these comments refer to males. For any Blue Damselfly, look at Segments 8 & 9 – if all/mostly blue then it will be Common Blue, Azure, Variable, Blue-tailed or even Red-eyed, but it won’t be White-legged.

The three features to look out for on the White Legged damsel are:-

  • A pale blue abdomen
  • A unique inverted “V” on final three segments of abdomen
  • A double ante-humeral stripes

Only then should you take note of the white legs. An additional tip is that the newly emerged insect of his species is also a unique pale colour, which is quite distinctive displaying both the inverted “V” and ouble ante-humeral stripes of the adult.

John Luck

October 2007



Loading …
  • Server:
  • Total queries:
  • Serialization time: 31ms
  • Execution time: 78ms
  • XSLT time: $$$XSLT$$$ms