Dragonfly Guide


Leach, 1815

Calopteryx is a genus of large damselflies belonging to the family Calopterygidae.


The damselflies of the Calopteryx genus, also called Demoiselles or Jewelwings are all broad-winged damselflies with metallic bodies and veins. Males are colourful, mostly blue, and have extensively colured wings. Females also metallic, but green or brown. Their wings are clear to brown. Sometimes, but rarely, females develop male colours. Their legs are noticeably long and thin, with long and very numerous bristles. The wings are exceptionally densely veined, with 18 or more antenodal veins. Males lack pterostigma and females have pale pseudopterostigma, which are not as conspicuous as ordinary pterostigma and are crossed by veins.

Separation from other genera

Diagnostic features are coloration, metallic bodies, the dense venation and colouration of the wings and the absence of pterosstigma. Lestes species are also metallic but smaller and have narrow and hyaline wings. The large Epallage wings are similar but has no metallic sheen, also their legs spines are short and they have long pterostigma.


Calopteryx perch with a distinctive resting posture, with raised abdomen and closed wings. Both males and females are found anear flowing water, often in great numbers. Males are very territorial near suitable oviposition sites, with submerged aquatic vegetation. The males try to attract females with aerial displays, and any females are courted intensely as soon as they appear near water. Often gathers in large bankside roosts in the evenings.


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Distribution map. Data from gbif.org


  • Field guide to the dragonflies of Britain and Europe, Klaas-Douwe B Dijkstra.