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Taxonomic group

Coenagrionidae: Ischnura

Diagnostic features

Ischnura damselfly larvae are smaller than Xanthocnemis or Austrolestes, and have pointed tail gills with very short hairs near the tip. The adult males are small and colourful with a green and black thorax, orange abdomen and blue bands near the tip of the tail.

Typical habitats

Ischnura larvae occur in weedy streams and ponds, primarily in northern parts of New Zealand.


They are predators, feeding on other freshwater invertebrates.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 6
  • Soft bottom: 3.1

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

Ischnura are not useful indicators of water quality as they can be common in both polluted and unpolluted waters. They have tolerance values of 6 (hard bottom sites) and 3.1 (soft bottom sites).