Red-eyed damselfly

Red-eyed Damselfly

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Red-eyed damselfly

Scientific name: Erythromma najas
The Red-eyed damselfly is a small, but robust, damselfly of canals, ponds, lakes and slow-flowing rivers. As its name suggests, it has bright blood-red eyes, but a mostly black body.

Species information


Length: 3.5cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to September


The Red-eyed damselfly is a small, but robust, damselfly of canals and slow-flowing rivers, ponds and lakes where it can often be seen sitting on lily pads. It is on the wing from the end of May through to August. When the larvae of damselflies are ready to turn into adults, they emerge from the water and moult their larval skin, leaving behind a cast known as an 'exuviae' - look for these on emergent vegetation around the edges of waterbodies.

How to identify

The Red-eyed damselfly is mostly black in colour, with a pale blue band at the end of the body, blue patches on the thorax, and bright, blood-red eyes. It is more robust than the similar Blue-tailed damselfly, which doesn't have red eyes. The Small Red-eyed damselfly is very similar, but a little smaller and more delicate, and has orangey-red eyes.


Found in Southern and Central England, spreading north and into Wales.

Did you know?

The closely related Small Red-eyed damselfly (Erythromma viridulum) was first recorded in this country in 1999 and is now found throughout South East England and parts of the Midlands.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.