Length: 45mm

Only two species of damselfly in Britain have obviously coloured wings. They both belong to the genus Calopteryx. In this species the wings of the mature male have a dark blue-black band across the central portion and those of the female are iridescent pale-green. The body colour is metallic blue-green in the male and green with a bronze tip in the female. The flight is fluttering, butterfly-like and the male often perform a fluttering display flight in front of females.

Flight Period: May (April) – August (September)



long ‘horn-like’ antennae and long thin legs distinguish this as a demoiselle. Two pale bands on the caudal lamellae (sometimes difficult to see) and lack of an occupital tooth behind each eye distinguish this as a Banded Demoiselle.

Where to See

Latin NameCalopteryx splendens

Mainly found along slow-flowing lowland streams and rivers, particulary those with muddy bottoms.

Status & Distribution

Common. Most of England (south of the Humber), Wales and Ireland.
Main flight period is early May to end August.
Distribution map from the  NBN Atlas (opens in new window).

Similar Species

The Beautiful Demoiselle (C. virgo) is the only other British damselfly with coloured wings.

Beware! A quick search of Google Images or Wikimedia tends to find related American species such as the Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata, also known as the Black-winged Damselfly, but such species do not occur in Europe and have never been known to fly the Atlantic.

Species GroupDamselflies
Identification Notes
  • Male has broad dark blue-black spot across outer part of wing. Female has translucent pale green wings
  • Large damselfly with diagnostic fluttering wing beats
  • Prefers slow flowing watercourses
  • Mid May – mid August

Similar Species