Sussex Dragonfly Group

Southern Emerald Damselfly (Shy Emerald Damselfly)
Lestes barbarus (Fabricius, 1798)
« Ischnura pumilio | Lestes dryas »

Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Lestidae

Southern Emerald Damselfly
(Shy Emerald Damselfly)
Lestes barbarus

Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Lestidae

A large vagrant Emerald damselfly with bicoloured wing spots (pterostigma).

Lestes barbarus
1 / 2
female
Photo: David Sadler
Lestes barbarus
2 / 2
male
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Migrant from Northern Europe, possibly the Netherlands where it has increased recently. First observed in July 2002 in Norfolk. Also in the Channel Islands since 1995. Now occurs almost annually, and has been proven (2018) to breed. Records come from the south coast of England and East Anglia ( BDS website).

Status in Sussex
The Dragonflies of Sussex (2004) predicted that this was one of the potential species to be added to the Sussex list. This was proved correct when Steven Teale found a male of this species on 4 August 2018 at Winchester’s Pond, Lullington Heath. It was seen subsequently by others including Dave Sadler two days later.

Distribution at 1km scale

Lestes barbarus distribution (all)
Lestes barbarus distribution pre 1980
Lestes barbarus distribution 1980 - 1989
Lestes barbarus distribution 1990 - 1999
Lestes barbarus distribution 2000 - 2009
Lestes barbarus distribution 2010 - 2019
Lestes barbarus distribution 2010 on

Flight times
June - September ( BDS website)

Phenology (adult)

Lestes barbarus phenology (all)
Lestes barbarus phenology pre 1980
Lestes barbarus phenology 1980 - 1989
Lestes barbarus phenology 1990 - 1999
Lestes barbarus phenology 2000 - 2009
Lestes barbarus phenology 2010 - 2019
Lestes barbarus phenology 2010 on

Habitat
Still, shallow, waters; will tolerate brackish conditions. Seems to favour dune slacks and other coastal sites in our area, though has occurred inland ( BDS website).

Similar species
The potential confusion species are discussed under Emerald Damselfly (where there is a photographic comparison).

A large vagrant Emerald damselfly with bicoloured wing spots (pterostigma).

Lestes barbarus
1 / 2
female
Photo: David Sadler
Lestes barbarus
2 / 2
male
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Migrant from Northern Europe, possibly the Netherlands where it has increased recently. First observed in July 2002 in Norfolk. Also in the Channel Islands since 1995. Now occurs almost annually, and has been proven (2018) to breed. Records come from the south coast of England and East Anglia ( BDS website).

Status in Sussex
The Dragonflies of Sussex (2004) predicted that this was one of the potential species to be added to the Sussex list. This was proved correct when Steven Teale found a male of this species on 4 August 2018 at Winchester’s Pond, Lullington Heath. It was seen subsequently by others including Dave Sadler two days later.

Distribution at 1km scale

Lestes barbarus distribution (all)
Lestes barbarus distribution bre 1980
Lestes barbarus distribution 1980 - 1989
Lestes barbarus distribution 1990 - 1999
Lestes barbarus distribution 2000 - 2009
Lestes barbarus distribution 2010 - 2019
Lestes barbarus distribution 2020 on

Flight times
June - September ( BDS website)

Phenology (adult)

Lestes barbarus phenology (all)
Lestes barbarus phenology pre 1980
Lestes barbarus phenology 1980 - 1989
Lestes barbarus phenology 1990 - 1999
Lestes barbarus phenology 2000 - 2009
Lestes barbarus phenology 2010 - 2019
Lestes barbarus phenology 2020 on

Habitat
Still, shallow, waters; will tolerate brackish conditions. Seems to favour dune slacks and other coastal sites in our area, though has occurred inland ( BDS website).

Similar species
The potential confusion species are discussed under Emerald Damselfly (where there is a photographic comparison).