Hajar Wadi damsel (Arabineura khalidi)

Hajar Wadi damsel male on twig
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Hajar Wadi damsel fact file

Hajar Wadi damsel description

GenusArabineura (1)

For a desert region, southern Arabia has a remarkable range of dragonfly and damselfly species (2). First discovered as recently as 1988, the Hajar Wadi damsel was only fully described as a species in 1994, when the female was found (3). A poorly known species (1), it is rather dark (3), with a blue and black body. The female is lighter in colour.

Elattoneura khalidi.

Hajar Wadi damsel biology

Virtually nothing is known about the biology of the Hajar Wadi damsel. However, its lifestyle is likely to be similar to that of other damselfly and dragonfly species. A damselfly begins life as an aquatic larva, known as a nymph, which passes through a number of developmental stages, or ‘stadia’, and undergoes several moults as it grows. Shortly before the final moult (emergence), the nymph ceases to feed, and moves close to a site where it can emerge, such as a water plant, rock, or the shore. It then undergoes metamorphosis, changing into the adult form (5).

The newly emerged adult will spend a few days to several weeks feeding and maturing, usually in a protected, prey-rich site. During this pre-reproductive phase, the damselfly can be identified by a glassy sheen to the wings, and it is usually during this time that the full adult colour develops. Mature males may defend a territory against rival males, and competition for females can be fierce. The male will guard the female while the eggs are laid, to prevent other males mating with her. Both adults and nymphs are impressive and opportunistic predators, feeding on a variety of prey (5).


Hajar Wadi damsel range

The Hajar Wadi damsel is endemic to southeast Arabia, where it occurs in Oman and the United Arab Emirates (1) (3) (4).


Hajar Wadi damsel habitat

This damselfly inhabits fast-running waters with aquatic vegetation, and is not usually found far from water (1) (2) (3).


Hajar Wadi damsel status

The Hajar Wadi damsel is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Hajar Wadi damsel threats

Although little is known about the Hajar Wadi damsel, it is likely to be threatened by the degradation and loss of its breeding habitat through pollution, over-irrigation and drainage (1) (4). These problems are likely to worsen as the human population in the region expands (1). Drying out of its habitat is also a serious threat, and is expected to increase in the future as a result of global climate change (1).


Hajar Wadi damsel conservation

The conservation of the Hajar Wadi damsel will require ongoing management of good quality running waters (1), as well as measures to combat water pollution, and the protection of suitable habitats (4). Research priorities for the damselflies and dragonflies of this region include further taxonomic assessments, a complete identification key for all species, and regular monitoring of the status and habitat use of endemic, limited range species such as the Hajar Wadi damsel (4).

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Find out more

To find out more about dragonflies and damselflies and their conservation see:

  • O'Toole, C. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Insects and their Allies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Moore, N.W. (1997) Dragonflies: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Odonata Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Available at:


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
An abrupt physical change from the larval to the adult form.
Stage of insect development, similar in appearance to the adult but sexually immature and without wings. The adult form is reached via a series of moults and the wings develop externally as the nymph grows.
The science of classifying organisms, grouping together animals which share common features and are thought to have a common ancestor.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.


  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2013)
  2. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
  3. Giles, G.B. (1998) An illustrated checklist of the damselflies and dragonflies of the UAE. Tribulus, 8(2): 9 - 15.
  4. Jödicke, R., Boudot, J.P., Jacquemin, G., Samraoui, B. and Schneider, W. (2004) Critical species of Odonata in northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In: Clausnitzer, V. and Jödicke, R. (Eds) Guardians of the watershed. Global status of dragonflies: critical species, threat and conservation. International Journal of Odonatology, 7: 239 - 253.
  5. O'Toole, C. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Insects and their Allies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Image credit

Hajar Wadi damsel male on twig  
Hajar Wadi damsel male on twig

© Robert W. Reimer

Robert W. Reimer
c/o United Arab Emirates University - UGRU
P.O. Box 17172
Al Ain
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 (50) 663-0764


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