Beautiful Demoiselle - Calopteryx virgo
Adult SizeLength: 45 - 49mm Hindwing Length: 27 – 36mm
Distinguishing featuresOne of the two species of damselfly in Britain with pigmented wings. They both belong to the genus Calopteryx. They are the largest damselflies in the UK.
Identification - for help with terms see glossary
Males are unmistakeable having a blue-green metallic abdomen with broad brown-black wings with blue iridescent veins.
Have dark brown/green wings and brown eyes.
Abdomen is metallic green/copper, the wings are dark brown with iridescent veins which look golden in sunlight.
Have paler brown wings which can be confused with mature female Banded Demoiselles and as they may occur together care must be taken with identification.
HabitatMainly found along streams and rivers, particularly those with sand or gravel bottoms. Can be found on heathland streams as larvae can tolerate acid conditions. Often found in very shaded areas.
BehaviourBoth males are females have a delicate butterfly like flight. Males are territorial and patrol bankside vegetation. Females like most odonata stay away from water unless breeding. Both will stray away from open water to feed.
Status and distributionLocally abundant along clean unpolluted rivers in Dorset with emergent bankside vegetation e.g. River Stour & River Allen.
Flight periodMain flight period is late May to end August.
Similar speciesThe Banded Demoiselle is the only other British damselfly with pigmented wings.
More photographsClick on the photos below to enlarge...
All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.