Large Red Damselfly
Pyrrhosoma nymphula

The first species to make an appearance in the year, often surfacing in mid April in abundance. Large Red Damselflies mark the start of the season, and can be found inhabiting all location and environments throughout the New Forest.


The abundance and prevalence of the Large Red make it a popular target for photographers who wish to refine their dragonfly photographic skills. Furthermore, they are quite approachable, and are one of the only species (besides the Common Darter) that I have known to perch on the observer's clothing.


The large size of and colouration of the Large Red Damselfly make it an easily identifiable subject, with a predominantly red body (males) and black legs that are not confusable with any other species.

locations media gallery
Ubiquitous throughout the New Forest, in all environments from bog, stream, pond and lake.
Female Photo Female Photo Copulating Pair Photo Larvae Photo View movie clip
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seasonal appearance distinguishing features

Males and females are comparatively large to other damselfly species, measuring up to 2.5 cm's in length. Males have a predominantly dull red abdomen aside the final two segments which have black colouration. Females have black colouration on all segments (sometimes dominating the red), with yellow banding between the abdominal segments. The size of the large red, coupled with its black leg colouration distinguish it from the Small Red Damselfly species.