Dragonflies and Damselflies

Scientific name: Odonata (order)

Identification: Dragonflies and damselflies make up a large, diverse group of insects. In their aquatic larval stages, dragonflies have a broad abdomen with three triangular appendages at the end, whereas damselflies have a narrow abdomen with three caudal lamellae at the end. In their adult stages, dragonflies and damselflies have large heads with compound eyes, as well as two pairs of membranous wings. Dragonflies have longer wings than damselflies do, meaning they can fly at greater speeds. On the other hand, damselflies have hinges that allow them to fold up their wings when they are not flying.

Habitat: Dragonflies and damselflies are found near cooler aquatic systems. Their presence in these aquatic systems is often an indication of good water quality, since they are sensitive to environmental and anthropogenic disturbances.

Overview: Dragonflies and damselflies are top insect predators, and they have been observed to hunt in groups. Environmental conditions influence hunting behaviors in dragonflies, but do not affect damselflies. Odonata are considered to be some of the oldest insects, since fossils have been found dating back to about 325 million years ago.


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