135 spp. in 22 genera of 4 families in our area(1)
; almost 3000 spp. in >300 genera of 18 families worldwide(2)(3)
Forewing and hindwing similar size and shape, held at rest above body (except Spreadwings.) Very slender abdomen. Male has four terminal appendages and female has well-developed ovipositor.(4)
Broadwinged damsels (Jewelwings, Rubyspots) have wider wings than Pond Damsels and may have colored or spotted wings (most Pond Damsels have clear wings except for pterostigma.)
Spreadwings are readily identified because they do not fold the wings together snugly--they also typically "hang" from a perch, with wings slightly spread.
The Great Spreadwing is our largest damselfly.
Males and females are typically different in color, with the male showing more brilliant color, though some female damsels are also brightly colored. In some species females have both a male-form and a female-form color pattern. (5)
plate 6f and others.
Identification is made by noting details of markings on head, thorax, and abdomen.
Guides: northern spp.(6)(7)
adults mostly near ponds, streams, etc. (water required for reproduction), but some species may be found at a distance from water, especially near the ground in grass, woods, etc.
Generally, warm weather. Some emerge early in spring, others in midsummer; in many locations, species follow a sequence through the warm part of the year.
usually hold wings spread at rest
(images, some life history info)