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Nature Conservation
Dept. of Development
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
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01752 304229
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Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo

Female Beautiful Demoiselle dragonfly Female Beautiful Demoiselle dragonfly Male Beautiful Demoiselle dragonfly


Small to medium sized; body length 30mm to 40mm.


Males are a resplendent metallic blue-green. Their wings are tinted deep blue and lack a stigma. Females are a metallic greenish-bronze with brown tinted wings, each with a conspicuous white stigma.


Demoiselles flutter rather than fly. Males take up prominent perches along their breeding territory to display and only leave them to make short forays to ward off intruders. If the intruder is a smaller damselfly or even a butterfly, they will simply flash their wings to deter the intruder rather than fly after them. Several males will attempt to court a female in elaborate chases with the winner eventually displaying to her by energetically fluttering his wings in front of her. Eggs are laid into submerged vegetation by the female.

Where to look for it

Demoiselles prefer moderate to fast-running streams. They are commonly to be seen in Efford Marsh and Forder Valley Local Nature Reserves but are also readily seen by the stream in Newnham Public Open Space and along much of the length of the Tory Brook.

Where to look for it

Distribution and status

Common wherever there is suitable habitat.

When to look for it

Mid May to early September.

When to look for it

Similar species

The combination of metallic colouration and smoky wings make this species unmistakeable.

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