Belongs to: damselflies

Banded demoiselle Calopteryx splendens

Best time to see: Jun to mid Sep

Key facts

Graceful large damselfly with butterfly-like flight; male has distinctive banded wings

Habitat: slow-flowing, mud-bottomed streams, rivers, canals and nearby meadows, also lakes near rivers

Common in southern part of England and throughout most of Ireland


Male has metallic blue-green body with dark patches on wings and dark red eyes; female emerald green with clear wings

Usually seen in graceful, flitting flight over emergent vegetation, or perched on a stem close to the water

Fly between May and September, feeding on small insects such as flies and midges


Females lay eggs individually into the tissue of a wide range of aquatic plants, guarded by the male

Larvae overwinter in muddy bottoms, usually for two years

Larvae travel long distances to emerge as adults, to shrubs and trees up to 100m away

  • Main photo
  • female

Photo © Ken King

Photo © Tony Gunton