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The Azure damselfly (Coenagrion puella) is quite common here in The Netherlands, and always a pleasure to see!

At first glance it could be a bit tricky to distinguish the Azure from a Common blue (Enallagma cyathigerum) damselfly, but if you look at the antehumeral stripe (that’s the long blue section on the thorax), the Azure’s blue stripe is narrower than the black stripe beneath it, and there’s an extra black line, a “spur” extending from the wing base towards the legs. The Common blue’s antehumreral stripe is broader than the black stripe beneath it and there’s no “spur” on the thorax.

Another thing to look at is the second segment of the males’ abdomen (just behind the thorax): both are blue but the Azure has a black U-shape and the common blue has a black mushroom-shaped mark.

And now I need your help! Please take a look at the second photo below, it’s not a great shot but I hope someone can help me identify this little damselfly.. I’m doubting if it’s either a Variable damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum) or perhaps a female Azure in blue form. If you know which one it is, please leave a comment below!

Male Azure damselfly

Female Azure damselfly in blue form (?)

12 responses

  1. These are so beautiful, Camilla! The thing is as you probably know there can be so many colour varitations with these damselflies between the sexes and different stages. The colours are amazing!

    June 3, 2018 at 5:34 PM

    • Thanks so much, Pete! Yes, identification can be hard sometimes! But it’s also fun to try to figure out what you’re looking at 😉

      June 4, 2018 at 9:19 AM

  2. These are always a welcome sign of spring, not only very beautiful and graceful but legend is they eat mosquitoes. I don’t know if that’s eye or not but they are a pleasant sight regardless.
    Camilla if you don’t know what the last one is I’ll wager no one else does so maybe it will be a Camilla something. On the other hand and totally unrelated these are known over here as dragonflies…hmm so from a Canadian perspective hold off on staking naming rights😐

    June 3, 2018 at 6:44 PM

    • Thanks so much, Tony! 🙂 Dragonflies aren’t the same as damselflies! They’re both Odonata (a sub-group of insects) but there are many differences between them; size, etes, wings, etc…

      June 4, 2018 at 9:23 AM

      • Well, there you go. That’s why I need to keep following your site😊 thanks for the clarification!

        June 4, 2018 at 4:07 PM

        • Thanks for telling me! Actually I think I’ll write a post on the differences between them 🙂

          June 4, 2018 at 7:41 PM

  3. The damselfly images are beautiful, Camilla, but, alas, I can’t help much with the identification. I am in Brussels this week for work and have had a chance to shoot some dragonflies and damselflies. I have had to rely on others to help me with identification, but think that I have gotten shots so far of the Blue-tipped damselfly, the Green-eyed Hawker, the Blue Emperor, the Black-tipped Skimmer, and maybe a few others. (I’ll hopefully get around to posting some of them soon.)

    June 4, 2018 at 4:58 AM

    • Thanks so much, Mike! 🙂 Wow, you’ve seen a lot of them! I look forward to see your pictures!

      June 4, 2018 at 9:25 AM

  4. Like your Canadian follower above, I used to lump them all together as “Dragonflies” until I learned better. It IS fun to try to ID them, so I hope you eventually figure out this one. Regarding who cares ID’s, have you heard of LBJ’s? They’re the Little Brown Jobs that birders can’t identify. 😉
    I just recently learned about different colors within species when I was trying to ID some damselflies I photographed – a group of Ischnura cervula – Pacific forktails. A few years ago I photographed a Boreal bluet (Enallagma boreale) at a wetland near here. I think those are the only two I’ve identified!
    They’re all very delicate and pretty, once you really look, and with photos as good as yours, we really CAN look! Your careful observation of the finer points of identification is impressive. Can you imagine how hard ti was before [photography? And just from an artistic point of view, in the second photo, I like the metallic look of that bronze color, with the pale blue. A very tasteful color scheme, wouldn’t you say? 😉

    June 4, 2018 at 7:20 PM

    • Haha, yes I know about the LBJ’s from my bird photographing days! Especially the warblers were tricky for me to identify, and it certainly didn’t help that the juveniles practice their song so in spring both looks and sound can be misleading..! Regarding insects like damselflies, I think they were caught in order to be ID’d. (Sadly, many photographers do it as well, and kill (freeze) them before taking pictures.)
      Yes, the color combination is beautiful! Super stylish little lady!

      June 4, 2018 at 7:54 PM

  5. Hi, Camilla. These are excellent images – beautifully sharp and lovely colours. As for IDs, I think most it has been said, and I don’t think I can add anything at all. Once again, thanks for the ‘notes’ but especially for the two super images. 🙂

    June 5, 2018 at 5:37 AM

    • Hi John, thanks so much! For me it’s ‘nice to know’ exactly what I’ve photographed, but it’s not a ‘must know’ 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

      June 5, 2018 at 11:47 AM

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