Beautiful Demoiselle

Key Sites: River Tove, near Towcester; Farthinghoe Nature Reserve.

Northamptonshire probably represents one of the most easterly strongholds of the Beautiful Demoiselle in central England. It is recorded on the tributaries of the River Cherwell, Oxford Canal and the River Tove. The Tove is of interest as it can be seen side-by-side with the Banded Demoiselle despite their differing habitat requirements. Recent records suggest that the Beautiful Demoiselle is expanding along the Tove, as it has been recorded at Wood Burcote, to the east of Towcester, where the majority of records refer to the west of Towcester. Habitat requirements are quite specific, for fast-flowing rivers with coarse gravely bottoms, and as such is under threat from abstraction, silting etc.

Spotting: At first glance, the Beautiful Demoiselle appears very similar to the Banded Demoiselle, especially in the females. Where the Banded has a distinct blue spot on the wings in the male, the Beautiful has solid blue wings (the photograph above illustrates an immature male whose wings haven't reached the mature blue colouration). In both species the females are bright metallic green, however the female Beautiful Demoiselle has distinctly orange wings compared to the pale green on the Banded Demoiselle.

County Status: A Local Priority Species. Under threat from a potential reduction in water flow rates, through engineering of our waterways. This engineering often deepens the rivers to prevent flooding, and is evident in some stretches of the Tove, noticeably where the Banded Demoiselle breeds..

Calopteryx virgo

Male, River Tove, Greens Norton, June 2005

Female, River Tove May 2006