Species of the Month - June 2016

Beautiful Demoiselle

Calopteryx virgo

Calopteryx virgo, male

Its dark wings make this damselfly instantly recognisable.  When fluttering about in shady woodland, they at first give the impression of black butterflies.  The male (above) is a brilliant metallic blue, with dark brown wings when young which turn blue when mature.  The female (below) is bronzy-green with wings of a less intense brown.

Calopteryx virgo, female

The female has a small white dot, known as the false pterostigma, towards the end of each wing.

Calopteryx virgo

A mature blue-winged male

Calopteryx virgo, male   Calopteryx virgo

A female laying eggs on Water Mint, guarded by her mate

The Beautiful Demoiselle is a damselfly of flowing water and can be found in large numbers alongside burns that run through woods or open country.  It is not common but is often abundant where it does occur.  It is absent from most of Scotland, with populations concentrated in Argyll but extending north to Skye.

Some recent photos from the Black Lochs area

Calopteryx virgo, male

Calopteryx virgo, female

Calopteryx virgo, female

The larvae live underwater in the burns and take two years to develop.  Adults begin to emerge at the end of May and continue throughout the summer, but nearly all our records are in June.  After emergence they stay away from the water for a few days until they are ready to mate.  When they return to the water they are very active on sunny days and fascinating to watch as they chase insects and each other and defend their territories.

Please send in
your Beautiful Demoiselle sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your damselfly, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LNHG Facebook page.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Number seen 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g habitat, behaviour   


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

June 5: Two seen by Christine Campbell at Esragan hydro dam

June 8: Males seen by Kathy Murgatroyd at Achnalarig

June 9: Seen by Bob Grove along River Oude at Eleraig

June 13: Male seen by Jessie Wormell in Glen Creran

June 18: Males seen by Pete Creech at Ford 

June 25: Female seen by Pete Creech near Dunadd

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here are the previous June species:

Jun 2014 - Forester Moth
Jun 2013 - Globe Flower
Jun 2012 - Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird

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This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.