Genus Pyrrhosoma Charpentier, 1840
red damsels

Type species: Libellula minimum Harrris, 1872 [= nymphula]


For an introduction to this genus, please refer to: Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & R. Lewington, 2006. Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing. 1-320.


Rather large damselflies with a mainly red abdomen, no postocular spots, black legs and dark pterostigmas. Some females lack any red, being black marked with yellow. The thorax markings are unique: the antehumeral stripe is an (often red) exclamation mark that crosses the humeral suture (as its name indicates, this stripe is normally entirely anterior to that suture). Red specimens can be confused only with Ceriagrion species, but differ by leg and pterostigma colour, and the distinctive antehumeral stripes. Black females can be confused with females of Erythromma and the black form of Ceriagrion, but differ by details of the thorax markings. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.


  • Dijkstra, K.-D.B., andLewington, R. (2006). Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing, 1-320.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-20].