Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Banded Demoiselle

Distribution map of Banded Demoiselle in Monmouthshire, March 2024
Distribution map of Banded Demoiselle in Monmouthshire, March 2024, produced using the DMAP for Windows software written by Alan Morton, www.dmap.co.uk

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) is a fairly widespread damselfly on the county’s flowing waterways, preferring slower-flowing rivers than its close relative Beautiful Demoiselle (C. virgo).

The oldest record in our data set is from the River Wye near Llandogo on 9 July 1968 (observer W. A. Seaby).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

There are many post-2019 records along much of the non-tidal sections of the Rivers Usk and Wye. In addition there are records from several smaller rivers such as the Monnow, and the Afon Lwyd in Cwmbran. Away from rivers it has also been recorded on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, and at sites on the Gwent Levels. There is only one recent record from the northwest uplands, in Blaenavon.

Current distribution in the county: what we don’t know

Banded Demoiselle is likely to be much more widespread on the Rivers Usk and Wye than the recent records indicate; all non-tidal stretches in the county should hold populations of the species, although ongoing severe agricultural pollution affecting these two rivers is likely to have an effect on numbers.

The species is also likely to be present on slow-flowing stretches of many of the smaller rivers: further recording along the Monnow, the Ebbw, and the various rivers crossing the Levels will give a fuller picture of its distribution.

Distribution elsewhere

Banded Demoiselle is a fairly widespread damselfly in other parts of Wales. It is found throughout most areas of England but in Scotland is mainly confined to lowland areas around the Solway in the west, and north to Edinburgh in the east. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from Ireland and western France east to Russia, north to southern Scandinavia and southern Finland, and south to Italy and Greece. In Iberia and southern France it is replaced by the Western Demoiselle (C. xanthostoma). The range of Banded Demoiselle extends a long way east of Europe, from Turkey to Siberia and northwest China.