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Taxonomic group

Lestidae: Austrolestes

Diagnostic features

Austrolestes damselfly larvae have long slender legs, a slender abdomen, and the tail gills have rounded tips with no long hairs. The adults are the distinctive blue damselflies often seen flying close to watercourses.

Typical habitats

Austrolestes larvae are common in weedy streams, ponds and lakes throughout New Zealand.


They are predators, feeding on other freshwater invertebrates.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 6
  • Soft bottom: 0.7

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Austrolestes are not useful indicators of water quality as they are common in both polluted and unpolluted waters. They have tolerance values of 6 (hard bottom sites) and 0.7 (soft bottom sites).