E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Nehalennia irene
Sedge Sprite
Family: Coenagrionidae
Species account author: Robert Cannings.
Extracted from Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002)

© George Doerksen  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #1020)

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Distribution of Nehalennia irene in British Columbia.
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Source: (for the static map) RBCM and BCCDC 2004 ©
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information


The smallest and most delicate damselfly in B.C. The abdomen is dark with a blue tip; the top of the thorax is metallic green. Length: ♂ 26 mm, ♀ 27 mm.

Flight Period

B.C., early May to mid September (mostly in late spring and early summer).

Genus Description

Small and delicate damselflies; five species live in the Americas and just one in Eurasia. The two Canadian species, unlike any others in the pond damsel family, are completely metallic green on top of the thorax; they also lack the pale spots behind the eyes that are common in many other members of the family.


Family Description

Small damselflies that normally perch with wings closed above the abdomen. Most males are blue marked with black, but the main colour may be green, yellow, orange, red or purple. Females often have two colour forms per species, one similar to the male (usually blue). Females lay eggs in the tissues of water plants, sometimes completely submerging themselves for a long time while laying. Larave are not as long as spreadwing larave and have short labia, unstalked at the base. There are six genera and 18 species of pond damsels in our region. The American Bluets (Enallagma) and forktails (Ischnura) are the most common groups.
Field Notes

Inconspicuous but common in suitable habitat; flies weakly in dense grasses and sedges. Most abundant in sedge meadows and lakes bordered by sedges. While laying eggs in floating plants, the female perches horizontally and the male, clasping her thorax with the tip of his abdomen, holds himself stiffly at a 45° angle.


Northern. Widespread in B.C.'s interior; on the coast, recorded rarely on Vancouver Island.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-06-03 10:21:35 AM]
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