Dragonflies and damselflies

Beautiful demoiselle

Beautiful demoiselle

The beautiful demoiselle is common and widespread along streams throughout the New Forest. Some of the best streams can hold as many as one individual along every two metres of stream.  The New Forest is this species’ stronghold in Hampshire. In the UK it is mainly restricted to the west of a line drawn from Kent to Liverpool.

Beautiful demoiselles are very sensitive to pollution. They breed in clean, fast-flowing streams with stony or gravelly bottoms, making the New Forest a perfect place for them.  They can be found along most of the New Forest streams: try looking for them at Wootton Bridge car park, north of Sway, or Puttles Bridge car park between Brockenhurst and Rhinefield Drive. Sunny patches along wooded sections of the streams should produce these wonderful insects from June to the end of August.

Keeping streams clean and with areas free from shade is essential for the beautiful demoiselle. Occasional clearance work may take place along streams, but letting the ponies and cattle graze freely in the Forest also maintains habitat for them.

ID tip - Beautiful demoiselles are easily identified. They have distinctively dark- coloured wings and iridescent dark blue bodies. They look almost like black butterflies as they flit around in sunlit areas along stony streams. These are the males. The females have gingery wings and are not so noticeable.

Photo credit: Simon Curson

  1. Dragonflies and damselflies
  2. Azure damselflies
  3. Beautiful demoiselle (you are here)
  4. Blue-tailed damselfly
  5. Broad-bodied chasers
  6. Common darter
  7. Emperor dragonfly
  8. Golden-ringed dragonfly
  9. Keeled skimmer
  10. Large red damselfly
  11. Small red damselfly
  12. Southern damselfly
  13. Southern hawker


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