Large red damselfly

Pyrrhosoma nymphula


The large red damselfly is a medium-sized damselfly which lives around the edge of ponds, lakes, ditches and canals and can also be found away from breeding sites in grassland and woodland. The earliest damselfly to emerge in the UK, it is on the wing from the end of April through to August. It is a regular visitor to gardens.

How to identify

Male large red damselflies are bright red with a black thorax and black bands towards the end of the body. The amount of red and black on the females' abdomens varies, with some forms appearing almost entirely black. The similar small red damselfly is a much rarer species, only found on heathlands in the south of England and western Wales. It is smaller, more delicate and has less red than its larger relative.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden with plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Large red damselfly
Latin name
Pyrrhosoma nymphula
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 3.6cm
Conservation status