DragonflyPix

Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans)

• English name: Common Bluetail
• German name: Grosse Pechlibelle
• French name: Agrion élégant
• Dutch name: Lantaarntje
• Swedish name: Större kustflickslända
• Norwegian name: Kystvannymfe
• Finnish name: Hoikkatytönkorento
• Danish name: Stor farvevandnymfe
• Italian name: Codazzurra comune
• Czech name: šidélko větší
• Slovenian name: Modri kresničar
• Bulgarian name: Синевърхо бръсниче

Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans)

Distribution map Ischnura elegans

Map data based on J.-P. Boudot & V. J. Kalkman (eds.),
Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies


General • a small species, very common and widespread throughout Europe except Iberia, some Mediterranean islands and northern Scandinavia
Classification • suborder: Zygoptera (damselflies); family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific name Ischnura elegans (Vander Linden, 1820)
Distribution • click or tap the Map button above
Notes • belongs to the elegans group, together with I. genei, I. graellsii and I. saharensis
  • co-occurs locally with I. genei (e.g. on the Tuscan islands of Elba and Giglio) and with I. graellsii (e.g. in Spain)
  violacea and rufescens are immature female colour forms, which with age develop into one of the three mature forms: violacea (with its antehumeral stripe) into either typica or infuscans; rufescens (without an antehumeral stripe) into infuscans-obsoleta; see below for details
Habitat • any still or slow-flowing water with a rich vegetation and low acidity levels
Dimensions • typical body length: 30-34 mm; hindwing: 14-21 mm
Both sexesWings• the pterostigma in the forewing is the same size as that in the hindwing
MaleThorax• the lower side of the thorax and the antehumeral stripe (which may be narrow or even absent) are green/blue
  ➤ the pronotum bears an upright projection
 Abdomen➤ the abdomen is black on top, but S8 is sky blue
 Wings• the pterostigma in the forewing is bicoloured: black on the inside, white on the outside; the pterostigma in the hindwing is uniformly beige/brown
FemaleThorax• the side of the thorax is either green/blue (in the form typica), purple (in the form violacea), orange/pink (in the form rufescens), or green-orange-brown (in the forms infuscans and infuscans-obsoleta)
  • the antehumeral stripe is of the same colour as the side of the thorax (see above) but is absent in the forms rufescens and infuscans-obsoleta
 Abdomen➤ the abdomen is black on top, but S8 is sky blue in the forms typica, violacea and rufescens or brown in the forms infuscans and infuscans-obsoleta; this tail-light is usually uninterrupted
  • the abdomen has a vulvar spine underneath S8
 Wings• the pterostigma is uniformly beige/brown in both wings
Photographs • nearly all of our photos below were made in Tuscany

Males in the elegans group; pronotum
I. elegans (1), I. genei (2), I. graellsii (3), I. saharensis (4)
Note the upright projection in I. elegans; it is absent in the other species.

Click on a thumbnail to display the photograph (at 1200 x 800 pixels) in a new window.

Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 1 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ♂

1 / 20; PhotoID: Da036 24/05/2015 15:49 Italy F8 1/80 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 2 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ♂

2 / 20; PhotoID: Da062 18/04/2018 13:22 Italy F10 1/200 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 3 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ⚤

3 / 20; PhotoID: Da040 21/04/2016 15:01 Italy F8 1/160 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 4 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ⚤

4 / 20; PhotoID: Da041 25/04/2018 10:52 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 5 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. violacea) ♀

5 / 20; PhotoID: Da042 18/04/2018 13:05 Italy F10 1/160 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 6 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ♂

6 / 20; PhotoID: Da043 04/06/2016 11:31 Italy F8 1/40 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 7 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ♂

7 / 20; PhotoID: Da044 12/10/2015 11:32 Italy F8 1/80 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 8 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ♂

8 / 20; PhotoID: Da045 17/04/2014 14:39 Italy F8 1/60 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 9 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. rufescens) ♀

9 / 20; PhotoID: Da050 06/04/2017 12:02 Italy F10 1/100 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 10 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. infuscans) ♀

10 / 20; PhotoID: Da051 24/04/2013 10:23 Italy F8 1/125 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 11 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. typica) ♀

11 / 20; PhotoID: Da059 14/04/2018 11:51 Italy F8 1/200 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 12 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. infuscans) ♀

12 / 20; PhotoID: Da060 02/05/2007 14:39 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO100 Canon30D -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 13 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ♂

13 / 20; PhotoID: Da061 18/04/2018 13:43 Italy F10 1/100 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 14 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ⚤

14 / 20; PhotoID: Da039 23/04/2013 12:20 Italy F8 1/180 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 15 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans) ⚤

15 / 20; PhotoID: Da081 11/06/2008 10:40 Italy F5.6 1/180 180mm ISO200 Canon40D -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 16 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. typica) ♀

16 / 20; PhotoID: Da082 28/05/2015 14:41 Italy F8 1/200 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 17 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. violacea) ♀

17 / 20; PhotoID: Da083 04/05/2015 12:30 Italy F8 1/125 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 18 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. infuscans-obsoleta) ♀

18 / 20; PhotoID: Da088 24/04/2013 11:31 Italy F8 1/125 180mm ISO400 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 19 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. violacea) ♀

19 / 20; PhotoID: Da103 19/04/2018 14:01 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Ischnura elegans, thumbnail 20 / 20
Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans f. rufescens) ♀

20 / 20; PhotoID: Da106 21/05/2016 13:39 Cyprus F8 1/160 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF