BruceH's picture

Beautiful Demoiselle

Observed: 9th July 2011 By: BruceHBruceH’s reputation in InvertebratesBruceH’s reputation in InvertebratesBruceH’s reputation in InvertebratesBruceH’s reputation in Invertebrates
Beautiful Demoiselle - Calopteryx virgo 09-07-2011 09-07-44
Species interactions

No interactions present.


RoyW's picture

Probably Western Demoiselle (C. xanthostoma)

This is a female of either C. xanthostoma or C. splendens, most likely the former given the south-westerly location.

Although there seems to be a very slight brownish tint to the wings, they look greenish-brown to me, and the wings are also rather narrow with the white false pterostigma close to the wing tip. Female Beautiful Demoiselles generally have more orangy brown wings when immmature (the pale eye colour shows that this one is fairly recently emerged) darkening to a more 'chocolate' brown colour, and have slightly broader wings with the false pterostigma (white spot) somewhat closer to the mid point of the wing.

I have not entered the new ID, because this means that the Beautiful Demoiselle images are still currently linked for comparison (feel free to revise the ID once you have had a look Bruce!).

BruceH's picture

Yes, I agree

Many thanks, Roy. I find the nuances of difference as these insects develop quite difficult. According to Dijkstra C.splendens' territory stops well short of where I am (foothills of Mediterranean Pyrenees), confirming your thoughts. The prominent false pterostigma isn't pictured in his book either!

RoyW's picture

Stick with it!

I can assure you that it does get easier! Like pretty much everything else, identifications that once seemed impossible end up seeming (almost) blindingly obvious once you learn which features you need to be looking at.
With most of your observations coming from southern France you've thrown yourself into a 'deeper part of the pool' than I did when I started to seriously look at dragonflies - you have far more species to consider, including several species that are difficult without very close examination.
At least you're not starting out in the tropics, where there are even more species, often no decent field guides (Dijkstra didn't have room for everything, but at least it's a start!), and potentially even undescribed species!

BruceH's picture


Thanks for the reassurance, Roy. I feel I am getting a little better; although the more I learn, the harder it becomes.

I am only in France for parts of each year, the rest being back in UK (N. Bucks); there are lots of odonata down here, and far fewer back home!

There are not nearly so many about now, so I await next Spring keenly!