Species of the Month – Swamp Bluet damselfly

Species of the Month – Swamp Bluet damselfly

The Swamp Bluet (Coenagrion lyelli) is a damselfly endemic to Australia, and also the only species of this genus known from Australia. Until recently, the Swamp Bluet was recorded in south-east Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, central and eastern Victoria.

In 2012, one male was photographed in a OneFortyOne Plantation wetland (Caroline Forest), south-east of Mount Gambier, South Australia. The species was observed there again in 2016; so are they breeding at this site or just a blow-in?

So far the Swamp Bluet has been observed in flight at the South Australian site over November and December, while it is known to fly into January in Victoria.

A male Swamp Bluet damselfly perched on aquatic plant (Gratiola peruviana) in a small wetland, Caroline Forest (December 2012)

This damselfly is relatively easy to identify as the blue markings on the abdomen distinguish it from any other species in the district. Keep an eye out for this little creature around wetlands and damp grassy woodlands during spring-summer, and hopefully we can find out whether they are residents or only occasional visitors in the South East.

For more information on this new observation for South Australia you can read this recently published paper in the Victorian Entomologist.

Bryan Haywood