Genus Calopteryx Leach, 1815
true demoiselles

Type species: Libellula virgo Linnaeus, 1758


For an introduction to this genus, please refer to: Dijkstra, K.-D.B. & R. Lewington, 2006. Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing. 1-320.


Large and broad-winged damselflies with metallic bodies and veins. Males are colourful (most often blue) and often have extensively coloured wings. Females are green or brown metallic, with clear to brown wings; they rarely have male colours. The legs are notably long and spidery, with especially numerous and long bristles. The wings are unstalked (i.e. without narrowed bases lacking cross-veins) and exceptionally densely veined (e.g. with 18 or more antenodal veins). Males lack pterostigmas and females have pale pseudopterostigmas, which unlike true pterostigmas are weakly defined and crossed by veins. The wing coloration, metallic bodies, absence of (true) pterostigmas and dense venation are diagnostic. Lestes species are green metallic, but are smaller with narrow, stalked and unmarked wings. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Lewington 2006]

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.


  • Dijkstra, K.-D.B., and Lewington, R. (2006). Field guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing, 1-320.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2024-07-25].