Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens

European common name: Banded Demoiselle

The Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens, is an abundant and easily identifiable damselfly. Males are often seen defending their territory over slow flowing waters.



A large, striking, fluttering damselfly, common in Bedfordshire and instantly recognisable due to its iridescent colouring and size.

The male is unmistakable, with an entirely dark metallic blue-green body, and large prominent patches covering almost half of each wing. The eyes are a dark brownish red but may appear almost black.

The body of the female is a striking metallic green colour that may appear bronze-like dependant on the viewing angle, particularly towards the tip of the abdomen. The wings are un-patterned but feature prominent white pseudopterostigma. Eyes on the female may appear light brown-green or dark like the male.

The wings of both sexes appear iridescent, with the venation taking on the same metallic sheen as the body, giving the of the male a darker blue-green tint, and the female a lighter green tint.

Overall length: 45 – 48 mm
Wings: 27 – 35 mm

Not likely to be confused with other species. Its size, metallic body, and prominent wing patterns and colour separate it from other damselflies apart from the Beautiful Demoiselle – Calopteryx virgo, but this doesn’t normally occur within Bedfordshire’s borders.

The male Beautiful Demoiselle has wholly dark wings. The female has darker, browner, wings, and its white wing spots are less prominent than those of the Banded Demoiselle.

Mainly found along their preferred breeding habitat of slow flowing rivers, or less commonly encountered at lakes that are close to suitable rivers if there is suitable emergent vegetation.

Sometimes found a distance from water, usually with many individuals in the same area hunting for food and defending their territory.

Females are more commonly seen away from water, until they are ready to breed.

Very common throughout the county and is likely to be seen at any suitable site.

Regularly seen along the River Great Ouse between Kempston and Bromham, masses of them can be seen along the River Ivel between Biggleswade and Sandy, and at Warren Villas.

Visible between mid-May and mid-September, peaking in June and July.

Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens Male, near the Biddenham Country Loop Walk.
Male Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens
Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens Female at Roxton, with an unusually short abdomen
Female Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens

External links for Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia