British Demoiselle Project

We are mapping demoiselle wing colouration across Great Britain. The two species in the U.K. are banded demoiselles (Calopteryx splendens) and beautiful demoiselles (C. virgo).

We know that these species' wing colour varies in different areas, but much of the diversity in wing coloration of U.K. demoiselles remains unknown.

That’s where iNaturalist comes in! We are hoping that citizen scientists can help us fill in gaps in our understanding of how wing colouration varies in time (e.g., by visiting a stream with demoiselles a couple of times each year) and in space.

When submitting photos, please include the location and date of the photograph. If you are submitting multiple photographs, please indicate whether there are repeated photographs of the same individual or whether you are submitting multiple different individuals. Finally, any information on the number of individual demoiselle damselflies that you saw where you took the photo would be very helpful.

Four Tips for Photographing Damselflies:

(1) Photograph the damselfly's wings perpendicular to the camera. This way, the entire wing surface is visible in the photo. For example, this:

(photo credit: flickr user novofotoo)

Is better than this:

(photo credit: Clifton Beard)

(2) Get as close as possible to the damselfly. Being closer to the subject yields a better photograph, but be aware that they may flee from humans if they are too close.

(3) Photograph the damselflies in front of a light background, so that their wings contrast with the background.

(4) When possible, photograph the damselflies in the sun. If the subject is in the shade, you may need to increase your ISO (800-1600+ should do the trick), or decrease your aperture (f8-f12 is fine).  Make sure that your shutter speed is greater than 1/60 at the very minimum, but 1/200 or above is best. Using the flash is also an option, however use caution when deploying the flash, as the flash often catches on surrounding foliage and may cause the subject to appear dark.  

Posted by smokyrubyspot smokyrubyspot, 13 March, 2018 12:07


Should probably say "demoiselles" instead of "smoky rubyspots" in the third paragraph!

Posted by reuvenm almost 5 years ago (Flag)

@reuvenm Doh, thanks!!

Posted by smokyrubyspot almost 5 years ago (Flag)

Are you mainly (or only) interested in wing colouration of the males? And if so, is it still worth adding observations of females? Also, what about immature males?

Posted by bazwal over 4 years ago (Flag)

@bazwal Sorry for the monumentally delayed response, but yes, females are definitely worth adding! We're still working on tricks for measuring their wing colour from photographs, but are making steady progress. Immature males are worth adding as well! Many thanks for your observations.

Posted by smokyrubyspot over 2 years ago (Flag)

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