Sussex Dragonfly Group

Banded Demoiselle (Banded Agrion)
Calopteryx splendens (Harris, 1782)
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Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Calopterygidae

Banded Demoiselle
(Banded Agrion)
Calopteryx splendens

Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Calopterygidae

The striking male, with its brilliant kingfisher-blue body, has deep blue-banded wings that create a fluttering, helicopter-like flight over slow-flowing streams and rivers. Females are metallic green becoming bronze with age; the wings are translucent with a green tinge. The two demoiselles are our largest damselflies and the most impressive in their colouration and graceful flight. Where they occur in the same places, the Banded Demoiselle tends to be the more dominant.

Calopteryx splendens
1 / 6
Female
Photo: Simon Linington
Calopteryx splendens
2 / 6
Female Ovipositing
Photo: David Sadler
Calopteryx splendens
3 / 6
Males in flight
Photo: Simon Linington
Calopteryx splendens
4 / 6
Male
Photo: Simon Linington
Calopteryx splendens
5 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler
Calopteryx splendens
6 / 6
Mating
Photo: David Sadler

More images

National status
Common in most of England and Wales.

Status in Sussex
Locally common north of the Downs, most notably along the River Arun, but with a limited distribution along the western Rother and absent from certain areas of both the High and Low Weald.

Distribution at 1km scale

Calopteryx splendens distribution (all)
Calopteryx splendens distribution pre 1980
Calopteryx splendens distribution 1980 - 1989
Calopteryx splendens distribution 1990 - 1999
Calopteryx splendens distribution 2000 - 2009
Calopteryx splendens distribution 2010 - 2019
Calopteryx splendens distribution 2010 on

Historical records
Despite the different habitat requirements to C. virgo, the comments made for that species can also generally be applied to this one, except in the far east of the county. Craven (1922) added just a single record of his own for that area and Chelmick (1979) noted its absence from the Brede and the lower stretches of the eastern Rother. However, data show that this species has expanded its range in the far east of Sussex.

Flight times
Early May - early September. The flight times appear to have become slightly earlier since 2009.

Phenology (adult)

Calopteryx splendens phenology (all)
Calopteryx splendens phenology pre 1980
Calopteryx splendens phenology 1980 - 1989
Calopteryx splendens phenology 1990 - 1999
Calopteryx splendens phenology 2000 - 2009
Calopteryx splendens phenology 2010 - 2019
Calopteryx splendens phenology 2010 on
Calopteryx splendens habitat
1 / 1
Banded Demoiselle habitat at Barcombe Mills
Photo: Simon Linington

Habitat
Almost always slow-moving, muddy-bottomed streams, rivers and canals, with open meadow habitat.

Conservation
This species is found at some of our key unpolluted sites. It hugs the upper reaches of our main rivers and streams and it can occur in large numbers in sympathetically managed habitats such as traditional meadows. Sensitive water management is necessary in order to maintain healthy emergent vegetation. Pollution, over-hanging vegetation, intensive dredging, removal of aquatic and bankside vegetation and abstraction appear to be the greatest threats. Adjacent meadows are useful feeding and roosting grounds.

Similar species
The only likely confusion species is the Beautiful Demoiselle.

Both species of Demoiselle can be confidently identified from their dark wing markings though be aware that immature males have fainter ones. Male Banded Demoiselles have dark pigmentation bands through the middle of their wings. Male Beautiful Demoiselles have even more extensive dark pigmentation, covering most of the wing.

Clues as to the identity of female demoiselles can be ascertained from the habitat type and presence of male individuals. The Banded Demoiselle prefers slower flowing mud bottomed water courses whereas the Beautiful Demoiselle favours faster flowing sandy or pebbly bottom water courses. In Sussex they are both generally widespread species and sometimes can be found together. Female Banded Demoiselles have narrower wings with a greenish tint to them whilst female Beautiful Demoiselles tend to have a broader wing with a brownish tint.

The striking male, with its brilliant kingfisher-blue body, has deep blue-banded wings that create a fluttering, helicopter-like flight over slow-flowing streams and rivers. Females are metallic green becoming bronze with age; the wings are translucent with a green tinge. The two demoiselles are our largest damselflies and the most impressive in their colouration and graceful flight. Where they occur in the same places, the Banded Demoiselle tends to be the more dominant.

Calopteryx splendens
1 / 6
Female
Photo: Simon Linington
Calopteryx splendens
2 / 6
Female Ovipositing
Photo: David Sadler
Calopteryx splendens
3 / 6
Males in flight
Photo: Simon Linington
Calopteryx splendens
4 / 6
Male
Photo: Simon Linington
Calopteryx splendens
5 / 6
Male
Photo: David Sadler
Calopteryx splendens
6 / 6
Mating
Photo: David Sadler

National status
Common in most of England and Wales.

Status in Sussex
Locally common north of the Downs, most notably along the River Arun, but with a limited distribution along the western Rother and absent from certain areas of both the High and Low Weald.

Distribution at 1km scale

Calopteryx splendens distribution (all)
Calopteryx splendens distribution bre 1980
Calopteryx splendens distribution 1980 - 1989
Calopteryx splendens distribution 1990 - 1999
Calopteryx splendens distribution 2000 - 2009
Calopteryx splendens distribution 2010 - 2019
Calopteryx splendens distribution 2020 on

Historical records
Despite the different habitat requirements to C. virgo, the comments made for that species can also generally be applied to this one, except in the far east of the county. Craven (1922) added just a single record of his own for that area and Chelmick (1979) noted its absence from the Brede and the lower stretches of the eastern Rother. However, data show that this species has expanded its range in the far east of Sussex.

Flight times
Early May - early September. The flight times appear to have become slightly earlier since 2009.

Phenology (adult)

Calopteryx splendens phenology (all)
Calopteryx splendens phenology pre 1980
Calopteryx splendens phenology 1980 - 1989
Calopteryx splendens phenology 1990 - 1999
Calopteryx splendens phenology 2000 - 2009
Calopteryx splendens phenology 2010 - 2019
Calopteryx splendens phenology 2020 on
Calopteryx splendens habitat
1 / 1
Banded Demoiselle habitat at Barcombe Mills
Photo: Simon Linington

Habitat
Almost always slow-moving, muddy-bottomed streams, rivers and canals, with open meadow habitat.

Conservation
This species is found at some of our key unpolluted sites. It hugs the upper reaches of our main rivers and streams and it can occur in large numbers in sympathetically managed habitats such as traditional meadows. Sensitive water management is necessary in order to maintain healthy emergent vegetation. Pollution, over-hanging vegetation, intensive dredging, removal of aquatic and bankside vegetation and abstraction appear to be the greatest threats. Adjacent meadows are useful feeding and roosting grounds.

Similar species
The only likely confusion species is the Beautiful Demoiselle.

Both species of Demoiselle can be confidently identified from their dark wing markings though be aware that immature males have fainter ones. Male Banded Demoiselles have dark pigmentation bands through the middle of their wings. Male Beautiful Demoiselles have even more extensive dark pigmentation, covering most of the wing.

Clues as to the identity of female demoiselles can be ascertained from the habitat type and presence of male individuals. The Banded Demoiselle prefers slower flowing mud bottomed water courses whereas the Beautiful Demoiselle favours faster flowing sandy or pebbly bottom water courses. In Sussex they are both generally widespread species and sometimes can be found together. Female Banded Demoiselles have narrower wings with a greenish tint to them whilst female Beautiful Demoiselles tend to have a broader wing with a brownish tint.