Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Suborder Zygoptera - Damselflies

Zygoptera (Damselfly) - Argia translata variable dancer - Argia fumipennis - male Bluelet Damselfly - Enallagma - male Eastern Red Damsel with homopteran prey - Amphiagrion saucium - female Skimming Bluet - Enallagma geminatum Odonate ID Request - Lestes sigma - female Which Damselfly is this? - Enallagma carunculatum - male River Jewelwing - Calopteryx aequabilis - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder Zygoptera (Damselflies)
Numbers
135 spp. in 22 genera of 4 families in our area(1); 18 families worldwide(2)
Identification
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.(3)
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. (4) plate 6f and others.
Identification is made by noting details of markings on head, thorax, and abdomen.
Guides: to northern spp. in(5)(6), to TX spp. in(7)
Habitat
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.
Season
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.
Food
smaller invertebrates
See Also
Dragonflies (Anisoptera) usually hold wings spread at rest
Internet References
WV Zygoptera (images, some life history info)
Works Cited
1.Dragonfly Society of the Americas. 2012. North American Odonata
2.Dragonflies of the World
Jill Silsby. 2001. Smithsonian Institution Press.
3.A Field Guide to Insects
Richard E. White, Donald J. Borror, Roger Tory Peterson. 1998. Houghton Mifflin Co.
4.Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States
John C. Abbott. 2005. Princeton University Press.
5.Damselflies of the Northeast
Ed Lam. 2004. Biodiversity Books.
6.Damselflies of the North Woods
Bob DuBois. 2005. Kollath-Stensaas Publishing.
7.Damselflies of Texas: A field guide
J.C. Abbott. 2011. University of Texas Press. 292 pp., 632 color photos, 79 b&w illus., 80 maps, 4 tables.