Dr. Jonathan Drury and others at Durham University are mapping geographical and seasonal variation in demoiselle damselfly wing colouration.

These species’ wing colour varies in different areas, but much of the diversity in wing coloration of U.K. demoiselles remains unknown. This study’s aim is to fill in gaps in our understanding of how wing colouration varies in time (e.g., by visiting a stream with demoiselles a couple of times each year) and in space.

 

How can you help

The study needs you to help take high-quality photos of the Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgoand the Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens).

When taking photos rememeber to record the date and location.

Information on the number of individual demoiselle damselflies that you saw where you took the photo would be very helpful.

You can also use existing photos from previous years, as long as the date and location of the photo are known.

Photography tips

1. Photograph the damselfly’s wings perpendicular to the camera.

2.  Get as close as possible to the damselfly.

3. Photograph the damselflies in front of a light background (so that their wings contrast).

4. When possible, photograph the damselflies in the sun.

Where to upload your photos

iRecord is unsuitable for this project so for more information and instructions on how to submit photographs, please visit www.inaturalist.org/projects/british-demoiselles.

If you are submitting multiple photographs, please indicate whether there are repeated photographs of the same individual or whether you are submitting multiple different individuals.

Observations from the researchers so far

Overall, over a hundred ‘citizen scientists’ from across the U.K., many of whom are members of the BDS, submitted a total of nearly 500 photographs to the project during 2018. So far, the we have measured the relative size of male Banded Demoiselles’ wingspots from these photographs. One interesting finding is that there is a change in the average wingspot size over the flight season: males emerging early in the year tend to have smaller wingspots than males that emerge in the peak season. For instance, here is a photograph of a male taken on 1 June.

Photograph of a male taken on 1 June.

Photograph of another male taken a few weeks later on 23 June.