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.
Photo credit: Simon Curson