Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens
The Banded Demoiselle is surpassed in beauty only by its close relative the Beautiful Demoiselle. The males can be told apart easily: the Banded Demoiselle has a dark band running over the wings, whereas the Beautiful Demoiselle has all dark wings. Females are more difficult to tell apart, but usually the wings of the Beautiful Demoiselle give a golden or brown illusion, while those of the Banded Demoiselle are usually greenish. In some areas both species mix, but usually one species appears to be predominant. The Banded Demoiselle is less than 50mm long, but the wings are quite big, for the wingspan may be well over 70mm.
The males of the Banded Demoiselle have to impress the females before they can mate. They show the females a white dot, located on the underside of the body. This dot is different in all Demoiselle species. Then they approach the female by showing the inside of the wings. Should the female accept, mating commences, which takes about 15 minutes. Afterwards the female will deposit her eggs all by herself. The male will keep an eye on the female to protect her from other males. Should another female enter his territory though, he looses interest in the egg laying female and starts courting the new female. That's why every now and then two or more females are depositing eggs in the territory of the same male. The eggs are deposited in waterplants and here the larva develops in some 10 months time.
The Banded Demoiselle is found in slowly streaming water only. It prefers lots of vegetation both in the water as on the bank. Males usually stay near the water, females may migrate over large distances. They are very rare in gardens, though. So we were lucky when this animal entered our garden and even turned out to be a very quiet model. Males are very difficult to photograph as they are scared away easily. The Banded Demoiselle is quote common along streaming water in England, Wales and Ireland. The Beautiful Demoiselle is a rather local species found west of the line Liverpool Folkestone and in Southern Ireland only.