Belongs to: damselflies

Compare with: emerald damselfly

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 and canals, and nearby meadows; occasionally ponds

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; body up to 50mm, wingspan up to 72mm

Female has metallic green body with a green tint across the whole of the wings

Usually seen in graceful, flitting flight over emergent vegetation, or perched on a stem with wings folded


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 2 years, travelling up to 100m to shrubs and trees to emerge as adults

© Ken King

© Tony Gunton