Species of the month: June - Banded Demoiselle
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Common Name: Banded demoiselle
Scientific Name: Calopteryx splendens
Identification: Banded demoiselles are sexually dimorphic. This means that the males and females are visually different from one another. The males are a metallic blue, with large black markings in the centre of each wing (giving the species its name). The female is metallic green, with translucent, green-hued wings. They can grow to a length of around 48mm. They have a gentle, fluttering, butterfly-like flight.
Diet: The adult demoiselles catch small insects such as flies and mosquitos. The larvae eat any pond dwelling creature smaller than themselves, such as worms or even fish fry!
Behaviour: The first banded demoiselles emerge in early May and emergence continues up to September. Adult damselflies and dragonflies are short-lived, so they must find a mate fast. Males perform aerial displays to win over females (and to establish territories). Once paired, they mate, then the female lays her eggs whilst the male guards her.
When the nymphs hatch from the eggs they spend 2 years in the water, catching prey. When they are ready to metamorphose, the nymphs crawl up a stem, out of the water. Here, their outer shell hardens, and they undergo the change into an adult damselfly, emerging from their former exoskeleton (now called the exuvia).
Where can they be found?: Banded demoiselles prefer slow flowing streams and rivers with muddy bottoms where they can complete their lifecycle.
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