Down By The River With The Demoiselles

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens

With a break in the weather today, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend the last day of my short holiday but down by the river. The bank is quite deeply cut so after scrambling down I sat down and just listened to the sounds of the river flowing by and the bird song from the wooded slopes.

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens

There was three or four of these bright blue male Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) damselflies fluttering over the river and the bank. Occasionally they would alight on nearby vegetation. Yes, these are slow-moving compared to the larger dragonflies.

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens

I was fortunate enough to observe a green and golden female laying eggs amongst the river flora.

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens female

River

Down by the river with demoiselles, and another year older, what a beautiful day indeed.


Local river, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Banded Demoiselle

Calopteryx splendens

I have been playing cat and mouse with these beautiful broad-winged dragonflies by my local river this morning. Patience is everything when photographing nature in the wild, but I am sure these critters always got a sense when I took my lens cap off for they would flutter off to alight somewhere else, usually out of reach! But patience paid off and I manged to get one reasonable shot of this handsome male.

A very elegant and extraordinarily beautiful damselfly. The males have a metallic blue-green sheen with a broad dark blue spot.The females are pale greeny-gold with a small false white wing spot near the tip. Similar to theĀ  Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo). Body length 45 to 48mm. Forewing 30 to 35mm.

The males are very territorial, and they court females by flicking their wings open and performing an aerial dance for them. The females lay their many eggs into a variety of emergent or floating plants. The eggs hatch after about 14 days. The larvae develop over a 2 year period in submerged vegetation.

It flies May to September, and it is found near slow-flowing streams and rivers. It is common and widespread in the Lowlands of Ireland, England and Wales. It is absent from Scotland and rare in northern England.

Photograph taken June 2016, local river, Staffordshire.