Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis

The Copper Demoiselle is a large damselfly. Like all European Calopteryx species, its flight is fluttery and butterfly-like and - uniquely among European odonata - Calopteryx males engage in a dazzling display flight to attract females into their territories. The Copper Demoiselle's range is limited to the Western Mediterranean basin and includes Italy, the South of France, the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean Islands. Here in Italy it's quite a common species and at some of our local rivers and streams it can be very numerous. Unlike its congener the Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis doesn't seem to be too picky when it comes to habitat selection; the water quality needs to be reasonably good but after that any running water - large or small, slow or fast, sandy or rocky, sunny or shady - seems to be acceptable. The species' most distinctive features include the rosy-red underside of the last three segments of the male's abdomen (which gives the species its scientific name), and the dark band which runs through the female's hind wing tips and which are clearly visible when she folds her wings together.

(Parque Natural da Serra de S. Mamede) Reguengo, Portalegre, Portugal

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