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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Odonata: the dragonflies and damselflies — Examples

Dragonflies
Damselflies

Dragonflies
Families represented below:
Aeshnidae, the darners
Gomphidae, the clubtails
Libellulidae, the skimmers
Corduliidae, the emeralds

Aeshnidae, the darners

Blue-eyed darner (<i>Rhionaeschna multicolor</i>)
Blue-Eyed Darner, male, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae (the darners).
□ The Blue-Eyed Darner looks almost identical to the Spatterdock Darner (Rhionaeschna mutata). The Blue-Eyed Darner occurs in the western and central United States and western Canada, while the Spatterdock Darner is found mostly in the northeastern United States and parts of eastern Canada.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 20 July, 2016.
Blue-eyed darner (<i>Rhionaeschna multicolor</i>)
Blue-Eyed Darner, male, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae (the darners).
□ This striking dragonfly can grow to more than 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long. Both the male (shown here) and the female have brilliant blue eyes. The two sexes have similar body markings, too, but the male’s are blue, and the female’s are green.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 11 June, 2017.
Blue-eyed darner (<i>Rhionaeschna multicolor</i>)
Blue-Eyed Darner, male, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae (the darners).
□ One of the features of the Blue-Eyed Darner is the pair of color slashes on each side of the thorax.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 12 June, 2017. Thomas says this one “shows the underside which also has lots of patterns, shows the slashes, and it looks like the front leg goes under the eye.”
Canada darner female (<i>Aeshna canadensis</i>)
Canada Darner, Aeshna canadensis, female, family Aeshnidae (the darners).
□ Like other darners, the Canada Darner is a swift and strong flyer. Many people see these dragonflies flying in groups right around sunset.
Photographed by: Maryle Barbé. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Spring Lakes Park, Petoskey, Emmet County, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2013. Maryle says, “This is a beauty.”
Shadow Darner (<i>Aeshna umbrosa</i>)
Shadow Darner, Aeshna umbrosa, family Aeshnidae (the darners).
Photographed and identified to order by: Sarah McKay-Mertz. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA. Date: 25 April, 2017. Sarah says, “City bugs get a bad rap, so I thought you might like seeing this beauty I saw laying stunned in the grass about 1/2 block from the Willis Tower. He must have been at least 6 inches long — and thick for a dragonfly. Hopefully he will make it!”
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Southern Hawker (<i>Aeshna cyanea</i>)
Southern Hawker, also called a Blue Hawker, female, Aeshna cyanea, family Aeshnidae (the darners).
□ This female has bright green markings all the way to the end of its abdomen. Males develop a blue markings on the final three abdominal segments.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker (@BryanPhotos). Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 6 August, 2017.
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Libellulidae, the skimmers

Neon skimmer (<i>Libellula croceipennis</i>)
Neon Skimmer, Libellula croceipennis, male, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The color of the male’s abdomen is stunning! The female lacks that bright neon coloration, and is instead a lovely creamy brown.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 4 June, 2017.
Golden-Winged skimmer (<i>Libellula auripennis</i>)
Golden-Winged Skimmer, Libellula auripennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This species is aptly named with the golden veins in its wings.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 4 August, 2018.
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Great blue skimmer (<i>Libellula vibrans</i>)
Great Blue Skimmer, male, Libellula vibrans, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The photographer notes this Great Blue Skimmer’s incredible wing details — beautiful, aren’t they? Besides the dark wingtips, notice the small black blotch about halfway down the foreward edge of the wings (that part of the wing is called the nodus). Although not visible in this photo, the male Great Blue Skimmer has a white face, which is another identifying feature of this beautiful dragonfly.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 24 July, 2018.
Broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa)
Broad-Bodied Chaser, sometimes called a Flat-Bodied Chaser, female, Libellula depressa, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Male and female adult Broad-Bodied Chasers both have the dark-brown patches at the base of their wings, the small dark cell at the tip the wings, and the row of elongated yellow spots down each side of the abdomen. To easily distinguish a female (shown here) from a male, look at the color of the abdomen. The female has a brown abdomen and the yellow spots show up very well. The male has a chalky blue abdomen, which makes it harder to see the yellow spots (but they’re still there). For more information on this beauty, click here. Note: This dragonfly's genus is usually listed as Libellula, but sometime it may be listed as Platetrum or Ladona.
Photographed by: Tim Dibley. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Farnborough, Rushmoor, Hampshire, England, UK. Date: 11 June, 2018. Tim says, “Working at the Farnborough Airshow and this just arrived in the pavilion we are working in. Never seen a dragonfly with such a wide abdomen.”
Widow skimmer (<i>Libellula luctosa</i>)
Widow Skimmer, Libellula luctosa, male, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The male has milky white patches on its wings; the female does not.
Photographed by: Maryle Barbé. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Spring Lakes Park, Petoskey, Emmet County, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2013.
Widow skimmer (<i>Libellula luctosa</i>)
Widow Skimmer, Libellula luctosa, female, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Compare this to the previous photo, which is the male. There are several differences, including the striping on the abdomen — the female has it, while the male does not.
Photographed by: Pauline Picotte. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 10 July, 2017.
Widow skimmer (<i>Libellula luctosa</i>)
Widow Skimmer, female, Libellula luctosa, female, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This is a common dragonfly throughout much of the United States and southeastern Canada.
Photographed by: Daisy Rulz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 23 July, 2017.
Twelve-spotted skimmer (<i>Libellula pulchella</i>)
Twelve-Spotted Skimmer, Libellula pulchella, female, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This dragonfly gets its name from the 12 spots on its wings: three black spots on each of the four wings.
Photographed and identified by: Jeff Goff. Location: Limestone (in the central Upper Peninsula), Michigan, USA. Date: 8 August, 2016. Jeff says he took this photo in a coneflower meadow. Beautiful with those dewdrops!
Twelve-spotted skimmer (<i>Libellula pulchella</i>)
Twelve-Spotted Skimmer, Libellula pulchella, male, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Compare this male Twelve-Spotted Skimmer to the female in the previous photo. The male has noticeable white smudges on the wings; the female does not.
Photographed by: Maryle Barbé. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Spring Lakes Park, Petoskey, Emmet County, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2013.
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Roseate skimmer (<i>Orthemis ferruginea</i>)
Roseate Skimmer, female, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This is a female Roseate Skimmer. The female has a tan-colored abdomen, a tan thorax with light-green markings, and a light-colored stripe that extends down the thorax and onto her abdomen. The light-colored stripe of the similar-looking female Neon Skimmer, Libellula croceipennis, is present on the thorax, but it does not extend onto the abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2017.
Roseate skimmer (<i>Orthemis ferruginea</i>)
Roseate Skimmer, male, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The male of the Roseate Skimmer (as shown here) is pink with a bit of a purple cast on its thorax, and burgundy eyes.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages Florida, USA. Date: 1 May, 2018. Sheldon notes that this Roseate Skimmer has captured a bee for lunch.
Roseate skimmer (<i>Orthemis ferruginea</i>)
Roseate Skimmer, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This is another view of the male Roseate Skimmer. Note the difference in coloration between this male and the female shown in the next photo.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2017.
Calico Pennant female (Celithemis elisa)
Calico Pennant, female, Celithemis elisa, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The female differs from the male in that she has yellow wing veins compared to the male’s pink wing veins; and the spots on her abdomen are yellow, compared to the red on the male’s abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska County, Michigan, USA. Date: 6 July, 2013.
Halloween pennant female (<i>Celithemis eponina</i>)
Halloween Pennant, Celithemis eponina, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The wings of Halloween pennants may be all yellow with black markings, as seen here. Sometimes, however, the wings have the yellow coloration only on the half nearest the body; the rest is slightly yellow or nearly transparent.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: 19 June, 2015.
Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween Pennant, female, Celithemis eponina, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The female Halloween Pennant has a yellow to whitish stigma (the little rectangular window pane at the outside forward edge of each wing), while the male has a red stigma on each wing.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2013.
Black saddlebags dragonfly
Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea lacerata, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Those big, black splotches on the otherwise-clear hind wings are characteristics of Black Saddlebags dragonflies. Compare this dragonfly’s wings to those of the Widow Skimmer shown previously on this page.
Photographed and identified by: L. Craig. Location: Downtown Detroit, Michigan, USA. Date: 30 September, 2016. Craig says, “It’s such an interesting yet intimidating looking insect (especially those wings)!!.”
Black saddlebags dragonfly
Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea lacerata, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Some Black Saddlebags Dragonflies spend their whole lives in one area, but others migrate south for the winter, and back north for the summer. Although they are not uncommon dragonflies, scientists don’t know much about how far individuals can migrate, or what routes they take.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: April, 2018.
Carolina saddlebags dragonfly
Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Carolina Saddlebags dragonflies have the large black blotches (the “saddlebags”) on the hind wings, black markings on the end of the abdomen, and red wing veins.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Chestnut Grove Nature Area, Conestoga, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 8 July, 2017. Kelly says, “I was shocked to see such a large ‘crimson’ dragonfly, so I knew it would be a good species for me. It sure was large.”
Carolina saddlebags dragonfly
Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly, female, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly looks almost identical to the Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta). One difference is how much of the hind wing is covered by the black blotch: A good comparison of the two species is available at the bottom of the webpage here..
Photographed and identified to order by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 11 March, 2018.
Carolina saddlebags dragonfly
Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly, female, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The female Carolina Saddlebags, shown here, is mainly a yellow dragonfly. The male of this species is much more red.
Photographed and identified to order by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 8 March, 2018.
Carolina saddlebags dragonfly
Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified to order by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 1 March, 2018.
Red saddlebags dragonfly
Red Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea onusta, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The Red Saddlebags dragonfly is very close in appearance to the Carolina Saddlebags (shown above). One distinguishing feature is that the black blotch on the hind wing covers a bit less area in the Red Saddlebags. A nice comparison of the two species can be found at the bottom of the webpage here.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to genus by: Audrey Maran (thanks, Audrey!). Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 17 October, 2017.
Wandering glider (<i>Pentala flavescens</i>)
Wandering Glider (also known as a Globe Skimmer), mating pair, Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This wonderful photo shows a mating pair of Wandering Gliders in flight. The male is in front and is clasping the female just behind her head.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 21 August, 2017. Sheldon says, “She dips down to deposit eggs in the water thus causing ripples in the water they then fly off together.
Wandering glider (<i>Pentala flavescens</i>)
Wandering Glider (also known as a Globe Skimmer), Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ See the next photo for a better look at the wing venation (veins) and the stigma, the colored “windowpane” on the forward edge of the wing tips.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 13 July, 2016.
Wandering glider (<i>Pentala flavescens</i>)
Wandering Glider (also known as a Globe Skimmer), Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here.. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 13 July, 2016.
Wandering glider (<i>Pentala flavescens</i>)
Wandering Glider (also known as a Globe Skimmer), Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 8 December, 2017.
Blue Dasher (<i>Pachydiplax longipennis</i>)
Blue Dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ As males mature, the abdomen takes on more and more of the chalky blue color. Look closely to see the male’s claspers at the end of the abdomen. He uses these to grasp the female behind the head during mating.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017.
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue Dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This great view showcases the gorgeous tiger-like patterning on the thorax. In the western United States, the male has a chalky blue thorax that matches the abdomen’s color. Blue dashers are typically 1.25–1.5 inches long.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017.
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue Dasher, female, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The female has the tiger striping on the thorax, but she has yellow patterning on her abdomen, where the male’s abdomen (previous photos) is a chalky blue with a dark tip.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017.
Blue dasher (<i>Pachydiplax longipennis</i>)
Blue Dasher, female or immature male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Immature males share the females’s patterning on the abdomen. As they age, the patterning is replaced by chalky blue — the last to turn blue are the abdominal segments closest to the thorax. To distinguish a female from an immature male, look for the claspers (see previous photo showing the male’s claspers).
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here.. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 20 July, 2016.
Blue dasher (<i>Pachydiplax longipennis</i>)
Blue Dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Blue dasher (<i>Pachydiplax longipennis</i>)
Blue Dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Note the yellow patch on the abdomen just behind the green-tiger-striped thorax on this male.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 18 March, 2018.
Blue dasher (<i>Pachydiplax longipennis</i>)
Blue Dasher, female, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: April, 2018.
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Chalk-fronted corporal
Chalk-Fronted Corporal, Ladona julia, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Ostego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 18 June, 2015.
Chalk-fronted corporal
Chalk-Fronted Corporal, Ladona julia, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Ostego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 18 June, 2015.
Common Whitetail (<i>Plathemis lydia</i>)
Common Whitetail, male, Plathemis lydia, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The mature male (shown here) has a white abdomen, a wide black splotch on each wing, and a narrower strip of black on the leading edge of each wing. An immature male has the same wings, but lacks the white abdomen. The female has a brown abdomen with white or yellowish-white spots on each side, and each of her wings has three dark patches.
Photographed by: Hector Rodriguez. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: Woodstock, Illinois, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017. Hector says, “It’s interesting the difference between the male and the female.”
Eastern pondhawk
Eastern Pondhawk, female, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The female Eastern Pondhawk (pictured here) is bright green with black markings on the abdomen, similar to the immature male (shown elsewhere on this page).
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio, USA. Date: 29 August, 2015. Kelly says, “Eastern Pondhawk being cooperative for a picture today. Great dragonfly.”
Eastern pondhawk
Eastern Pondhawk, female, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Compare the adult female to the adult male of this species (also shown on this page).
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: Audrey Maran. Thank you, Audrey! Location: Hopewell, Virginia, USA. Date: 24 July, 2014.
Eastern pondhawk
Eastern Pondhawk, male, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The male Eastern Pondhawk is chalky blue, compared to the female’s green — quite a contrast!
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 1 May, 2018. Sheldon says has been searching for a male Eastern Pondhawk to photograph and finally got one. He says, “During the time that I have been on the lookout for a male I could have taken thousands of photos of the female. The females will fly around me, then land close and pose for photos. The male is very elusive. After weeks of being on the lookout, I only have one image of the male.”
Eastern pondhawk
Eastern Pondhawk, immature male, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The young male Eastern Pondhawk (pictured here) looks much like an adult female with the green thorax and black markings on the abdomen, but the tail is blue. With time, the black abdominal markings will fade and the green will change to blue.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hopewell, Virginia, USA. Date: 24 July, 2014.
Neurothemis, possibly N. ramburii
Neurothemis, possibly Neurothemis ramburii, female, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This genus has an unusual black pattern on its abdomen, as seen in this photo.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
<i>Crimson Marsh Glider (Trithemis aurora)</i>)
Crimson Marsh Glider, male, Trithemis aurora, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Although not evident in this photo, this species has pinkish/red wing veins. Unlike the male with his deep pink to purple body, the female is light brown with black markings.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Ground Skimmer (<i>Diplacodes trivialis</i>)
Ground Skimmer, female, Diplacodes trivialis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The female is typically a greenish color, while the male is more of a chalky blue (see the next photo). In fact, the male is sometimes called a Chalky Percher.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Ground Skimmer (<i>Diplacodes trivialis</i>)
Ground Skimmer (sometimes called a Chalky Percher), male, Diplacodes trivialis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Compare this male to the female in the previous photo.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Brown Backed Red Marsh Hawk (<i>Orthetrum chrysis</i>)
Brown Backed Red Marsh Hawk, also sometimes called Spine-Tufted Skimmer or Crimson-Tailed Marsh Hawk, male, Orthetrum chrysis, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The male has a vibrant red abdomen, as shown here. The female has a more inconspicuous brown abdomen.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Red-veined darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Red-Veined Darter, young male, Sympetrum fonscolombii, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The male becomes redder as it ages. The female is mainly green with just the faintest hints of orange or red.
Photographed by Jean-Louis Metzger. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Marquenterre, France. Date: 5 August, 2016.
Red-veined darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Red-Veined Darter, male, Sympetrum fonscolombii, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The red veins are evident on this male Red-Veined Darter.
Photographed by Jean-Louis Metzger. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bilbao, Spain. Date: 3 May, 2008.
Sympetrum rubicundulum
Ruby Meadowhawk, Sympetrum rubicundulum, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Although it isn’t visible in this photo, the Ruby Meadowhawk has a tan face. The Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk has a reddish face.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Ostego County, Michigan, USA. Date: July, 2016.
Cardinal meadowhawk (Sympetrum illotum)
Cardinal Meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum illotum, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The red body of this Cardinal Meadowhawk is set off by the two white teardrops on each side of its thorax.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 29 August, 2017.
Cardinal meadowhawk (Sympetrum illotum)
Cardinal Meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum illotum, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The male Cardinal Meadowhawk is almost all red, including his face. He also has orange-red wing veins near the body on all four wings. The female is more brown than red, but she still has hints of orange-red in her wing veins, as well as the white teardrops described in the previous photo.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 29 August, 2017.
Sympetrum corruptum
Variegated Meadowhawk, Sympetrum corruptum, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 23 November, 2016. Thomas says, “I could not believe it when I saw it flying around today; haven’t seen a dragonfly for a long time now! ... I never imagined that dragonflies would have such color until I starting taking pictures of them.”
Sympetrum spp.
White-Faced Meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum obtrusum, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ There are several species of similar-looking meadowhawks. The color of the face (technically the frons and clypeus) is key to identifying this White-Faced Meadowhawk.
Photographed and identified by: Neil Boyle. Location: Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Date: 19 July, 2017.
White-Faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum)
White-Faced Meadowhawk, Sympetrum obtrusum, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This is either a female or immature male, both of which are yellowish-brown. Adult males are red (see previous photo).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Ostego County, Michigan, USA. Date: July, 2015.
White-faced meadowhawk (<i>Sympetrum obtrusum </i>)
White-Faced Meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum obtrusum , male, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
Photographed by: Daisy Rulz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 2 July, 2017.
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)
Eastern Amberwing, female, Perithemis tenera, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Compare this to the male, shown elshwhere on this page. The female has more black spotting and blotching in her wings, and in some cases, almost half of her wing is covered with dark markings.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 21 April, 2018.
Little blue dragonlet (Erythrodiplax minuscula)
Little Blue Dragonlet, female, Erythrodiplax minuscula, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The Little Blue Dragonlet is a miniscule dragonfly, so its species name of minuscula is a good one! It reaches only about 2.5 cm (an inch) long! To get an idea of its small size, see the photographer’s note below.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 28 March, 2018. Sheldon says, “This is a very, very tiny dragonfly. The twig he is perched on is actually a pine needle.”
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)
Eastern Amberwing, male, Perithemis tenera, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ This is small dragonfly (see the photographer’s comment below). The male, shown here, has a few small spots on its wings. The female, shown elsewhere on this page, has more black spotting and blotching in her wings. Both males and females have beautiful bi-colored eyes: brown on top and gray to green on the bottom.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 22 April, 2018. Sheldon says, “One of Florida’s smallest dragonflies only 0.8–1 inch long (2–2.5 cm).”
Dragonfly naiad
Dragonfly naiad, unknown species.
□ This is the exuviae (the casing) of an immature dragonfly, after the adult has emerged. An immature dragonfly is known as a naiad instead of a nymph (as many other immature insects are called), because it lives underwater instead of on land. (Note: Naiad is pronounced NIE-add.)
Photographed by: Gary Silberstein. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Walloon Lake, Charlevoix/Emmet Counties, Michigan, USA. Date: 19 June, 2015.
Dragonfly naiad
Dragonfly naiad, unknown species.
□ Dragonfly naiads live underwater for many months, sometimes for more than a year, and when it’s ready to become an adult, it crawls out of the water and onto land. There, its thorax splits open (where the white “threads” are in this photo), and an adult emerges. Once emerged, the adult’s wings expand and harden, and the adult flies off. This photo is the empty casing (or exuviae) of a dragonfly naiad. (Note: The white threads are actually tracheal tubes that the naiad uses to breathe.
Photographed by: Dean Jenkins. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hampshire, on the southern coast of England. Date: 9 July, 2018. Dean says he found it in his garden.
Dragonfly naiad
Dragonfly exuviae (shed), unknown species.
□ When a nymph (an immature insect) lives underwater rather than on land, scientists call it a naiad — pronounced NI-add. This is the shed of a dragonfly naiad.
Photographed by: Anonymous. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Century Park, Shanghai, China. Date: 9 July, 2018. Upon learning that this was a dragonfly exuviae, the photographer commented, “There were indeed tons of dragonflies around the park.”

Corduliidae, the emeralds
Gomphidae, the clubtails

Prince Baskettail (<i>Epitheca princeps</i>)
Prince Baskettail, Epitheca princeps, family Corduliidae (the emeralds).
□ The “emeralds” family of dragonflies are so called for the emerald-green eyes in mature adults, just as shown in this great shot of a Prince Baskettail. Photographed by and identified to order by: Brian Hendry. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Brian Hendry. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 12 July, 2017.
Add your photo here! Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus)
Small Pincertail, also known as Green-Eyed Hook-Tailed Dragonfly, male, Onychogomphus forcipatus, family Gomphidae (the clubtails).
□ The dragonflies in this family are called clubtails because the males in many species have a widening at the end of the abdomen that is somewhat club-shaped. Females often do not have a noticeable widening, and the males of some species may not have it either.
Photographed by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Gorges de l´Ardèche, Massif Central, France. Date: 22 June, 2015. Jean-Louis says, “This very yellow dragonfly caught my attention.”


Damselflies
Families represented below:
Calopterygidae, the broad-winged damselflies
Chlorocyphidae, the jewels
Coenagrionidae, the narrow-winged damselflies
Euphaeidae, the gossamerwings
Lestidae, the spreadwings

Calopterygidae, the broad-winged damselflies

Ebony jewelwing (<i>Calopteryx maculata</i>)
Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae (the broad-winged damselflies).
Photographed by: Maryle Barbé. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: On Boyne River, Boyne City, Charlevoix County, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2013.
Ebony jewelwing (<i>Calopteryx maculata</i>)
Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae (the broad-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.
Ebony jewelwing (<i>Calopteryx maculata</i>)
Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae (the broad-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.

Coenagrionidae, the narrow-winged damselflies

Bluet damselfly (<i>Enallagma</i> spp.)
Bluet Damselfly in the genus Enallagma, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified by: Keith McConnelly. Location: Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA. Date: 10 June, 2016. Keith says it was “on the edge of a manmade pond.”
Damselflies, mating
A mating pair of damselflies, in the genus Enallagma, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
□ This photos shows the amazing color variation between the males and females of many species of damselflies. Here, the male is the brighter color (the blue).
Photographed and identified to genus by: Brian Hendry. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017.
Add your photo here!
Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
□ This is quite a feat: remaining connected while hovering! And it is also quite a feat to capture this with a camera — nice shot, Jean-Louis!
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Spalding, Norfolk, UK. Date: 16 July, 2015. Jean-Louis says, “These two damselflies were hovering 1 cm or so above the bank of a canal in Spalding, Norfolk, while mating, keeping their exact mutual positions for 2 or 3 minutes, giving me time to get a number of quite sharp pictures.”
Damselfly
Damselfly in the genus Enallagma, juvenile female, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
□ Entomologist Rosser Garrison provided the identification, and suggested that it is a juvenile female, probably either the Common Blue Damselfly (Enallgma annexum, sometimes still known by the older scientific name of Enallgma cyathigerum) or Tule Bluet (Enallagma carunculatum), which are common in the region where this photo was taken. Dr. Garrison also noted that there is an outside chance it could be the Familiar Bluet (Enallgma civile). Juveniles can be very tricky! Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: Rosser Garrison. Thank you, Dr. Garrison! See Thomas’s full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 31 October, 2017. Dr. Rosser says, “A molecular study published some years ago split our North American populations of E. cyathigerum off from the European ones, and (many) odonatologists in this country now use the name Enallagma annexum (Hagen), and have restricted the older name E. cyathigerum to European populations.”
Bluet (<i>Enallagma civile</i>)
Bluet Damselfly, Enallagma civile, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.
Bluet (<i>Enallagma civile</i>)
Bluet Damselfly, Enallagma civile, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.
Golden Dartlet (Ischnura aurora)
Golden Dartlet, Ischnura aurora, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies). □ This damselfly sometimes goes by the common name of Aurora Bluetail, which refers to the blue tip of the abdomen on the male. This is a male.
Photographed by: Ajay Antony. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. Date: 11 May, 2017. Ajay says, “Since I have completed my studies, I have been going for photoshoots regularly.” Congratulations, Ajay!
Sooty Dancer (Argia lugens)
Damselfly, possibly Sooty Dancer, Argia lugens, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Identified tentatively to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017.
Argia vivida
Vivid Dancer, female, Argia vivida, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ The brown cast along the top of the abdomen and on the thorax of this gray Vivid Dancer damselfly identifies it as a female. Not all females have the brown cast, however: Some have all-gray background coloration, and although rarer, some females have the mature male’s blue coloration (as seen in the next photo).
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Argia vivida
Vivid Dancer, male, Argia vivida, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ Compare this to the female in the previous photo. Besides the difference in background color (blue vs. gray/brown), the black pattern on the abdomen is different. On the male, it is more striped, but on the female it has more noticeable variation. The thorax pattern, however, is similar on both.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Argia vivida
Vivid Dancer, female or juvenile male, Argia vivida, family Libellulidae (the skimmers).
□ In this cool photo, this Vivid Danver damselfly looks like it is closely watching the photographer. The all-gray background coloration makes this specimen either a female or an immature male. See the mature male in the previous photo.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella
Azure Damselfly, female, Coenagrion puella, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
□ The male Azure Damselfly is bright, deep sky-blue. The female (shown here) is mainly black with striped of either blue or yellow.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker (@BryanPhotos). Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 30 July, 2018.
Damselfly
Damselfly, family Coenagrionidae (the narrow-winged damselflies).
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 July, 2017.

Lestidae, the spreadwings

California Spreadwing (<i>Archilestes californica</i> spp)
California Spreadwing, male, Archilestes californica, family Lestidae (the spreadwings).
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California. Date: 20 June, 2017.
California Spreadwing (<i>Archilestes californica</i> spp)
California Spreadwing, male, Archilestes californica, family Lestidae (the spreadwings).
□ This is a closeup of the thorax.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Northern Spreadwing Damselfly (<i>Lestes disjunctus</i>)
Northern Spreadwing, female, Lestes disjunctus, family Lestidae (the spreadwing damselflies).
□ The female Northern Spreadwing, shown here, has a beige abdomen with dark-brown to black markings. The male has a blue to black abdomen, and the end of his abdomen has “claspers,” which are small curved structures that he uses to grasp the female during mating. Both the male and female have big blue eyes.
Photographed by: Daisy Rulz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 3 July, 2017.

Chlorocyphidae, the jewels
Euphaeidae, the gossamerwings


Jewel Damselfly, (<i>Rhinocypha colorata</i> spp)
Jewel Damselfly, Rhinocypha colorata, family Chlorocyphidae (the jewels).
□ This damselfly has such a beautiful neon-blue coloration on its abdomen. Note also the half-black wings.
Photographed and identified by: Angel Jurial. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Add your photo here! Gossamerwings, (<i>Anisopleura lestoides</i> spp)
Gossamerwings, Anisopleura lestoides, family Euphaeidae (the gossamerwings)
□ This damselfly has a blue-tipped abdomen, a striped thorax, and a black stigma (the small, colored cell at the far edge of each wing).
Photographed by: Syed Gazanfar. Location: Kashmir, India. Date: 6 August, 2018.


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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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