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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

Families represented below:
Dragonflies:
Aeshnidae (darners) Corduliidae (emeralds) Gomphidae (clubtails) Libellulidae (skimmers)
Damselflies:
Calopterygidae (broad-winged) Chlorocyphidae (jewels) Coenagrionidae (narrow-winged) Euphaeidae (gossamerwings) Lestidae (spreadwings) Unidentified damselflies

Aeshnidae, the darner dragonflies

Blue-Eyed Darner dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Blue-eyed darner, mating pair, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae.
Blue-eyed darners can grow to more than 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long. Both the male and the female have brilliant blue eyes, but only the male is easily seen in this mating pair. The two sexes have similar body markings, too, but the male’s are blue, and the female’s are green.
Photographed and identified by: Tisha. Location: Juanita Beach Park, Kirkland, Washington, USA. Date: 17 July, 2021.
Blue-Eyed Darner dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Blue-eyed darner, male, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae.
□ 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.”
Blue-Eyed Darner dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Blue-eyed darner, female, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae.
□ The female blue-eyed darner has the same graphic pattern on the abdomen as the male does, but her coloration is much more muted.
Photographed and identified to order by: Robert Carpenter. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Harris Beach State Park, Oregon, USA. Date: 21 May, 2016.
Blue-Eyed Darner dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Blue-eyed darner, male, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae.
□ 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 dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Blue-eyed darner, mating pair, Rhionaeschna multicolor, family Aeshnidae.
□ This nice photo of a mating pair of blue-eyed darners shows the brilliant blue of the male and the more muted color of the female. Zoom in to see the detail of one of the male’s wings — beautiful!
Photographed and identified as a dragonfly by: Jeremy Petru. Identified to species by KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sebastopol, California, USA. Date: 16 August, 2020.
Shadow Darner dragonfly (Aeshna umbrosa)
Shadow darner, Aeshna umbrosa, family Aeshnidae.
□ True to its name, the shadow darner prefers shady, shadowy spots along rivers and ponds.
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!”
Canada Darner dragonfly (Aeshna canadensis)
Canada darner, Aeshna canadensis, female, family Aeshnidae.
□ 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.”
Southern Hawker dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea)
Southern hawker, also called a blue hawker, female, Aeshna cyanea, family Aeshnidae.
□ This female southern hawker has bright green markings all the way to the end of its abdomen. Males develop blue markings on the final three abdominal segments. Note also the pterostigma (the colored cells near the tip of each wing), which are yellowish-orange in this individual. The pterostigma in different individuals of this species may appear to be either orange, yellowish-orange or white.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 6 August, 2017.
Lance-Tipped Darner dragonfly (Aeshna constricta)
Lance-tipped darner, male, Aeshna constricta, family Aeshnidae.
□ Male b>lance-tipped darner have blue striping on a black body; females have green striping on a brown body.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Sandy Domine. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Algonac State Park, St. Clair County, Michigan, USA. Date: 31 July, 2019.
Sandy says, “It’s dragonfly Heaven around here.”
Add your photo here! Regal Darner (Coryphaeschna ingens)
Regal darner, Coryphaeschna ingens, family Aeshnidae.
□ The b>regal darner is a large dragonfly — the photographer estimated this one at about 4 inches (10 cm) long. The male has green eyes, and the female has blue eyes. The pattern of thin green lines on the abdomen, which look rather like incomplete boxes, and the broad green stripes on the sides of the thorax help identify this species.
Photographed by: Photographed and identified to family by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 9 April, 2020. Marv says, “He seems to be studying me.”
Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros)
Swamp darner, Epiaeschna heros, family Aeshnidae.
□ The brilliant blue eye color of b>swamp darners is the feature that often gets the most attention. This species also has a series of thin, green rings along its abdomen, and several green stripes on its thorax. Swamp Darners can reach 4 inches long (10 cm).
Photographed by: Brett Lee. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Valparaiso, Indiana, USA. Date: 16 April, 2019.
Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros)
Swamp darner, Epiaeschna heros, family Aeshnidae.
□ This swamp darner has atypical lighter brown bands among the darker brown ones on its abdomen.
Photographed and identified to family by: Cheryl Ellis. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Howell, Michigan, USA. Date: 30 June, 2020.
Cheryl says, “He is beautiful and the largest dragonfly I’ve ever seen - about 4.5-5 inches.”
Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros)
Swamp darner, Epiaeschna heros, family Aeshnidae.
□ The eye color of this swamp darner is muted in this photo, but the pattern on its abdomen stands out with its series of single and double rings.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brenda Collett. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Dowagiac, Michigan, USA. Date: 7 June, 2019.
Brenda says, “I’ve never seen one like it before.”
Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros)
Swamp darner, Epiaeschna heros, family Aeshnidae.
□ The photographer summed up her discovery of this swamp darners: “Dragonfly struggling on concrete to get out of thunderstorm. Put on box, dish of water 4 overnight. Passed by morning. Mourning.”
Photographed and identified to order by: Diane P. Indentified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Beach Park, Illinois, USA. Date: 3 August, 2020.
Add your photo here! Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope)
Lesser emperor, Anax parthenope, family Aeshnidae.
□ This lesser emperor, which was photographed in Pakistan, has a brilliant sky-blue markings on its abdomen and gorgeous deep blue-green eyes. It is rather similar in appearance to the Green Darner dragonfly (Anax junius), which is a common dragonfly of North America, although it also occurs in Japan and China.
Photographed and identified to family by: Ustad Yasir Chandio. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: OPF colony Larkana Sindh, Pakistan. Date: 1 March, 2020.
Emperor Dragofly (Anax imperator)
Emperor dragonfly, male, Anax imperator, family Aeshnidae.
□ Both the male and female of the emperor dragonfly have a black central line on the abdomen, but the male’s abdomen is blue, while the female’s is green in most cases (a few are blue). This is a large dragonfly, reaching 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.
Photographed by: Ian Blackmore. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: West Cornwall, UK. Date: 16 July, 2021.
Add your photo here!
Green Darner dragonflies (Anax junius)
Green darners, mating pair, Anax junius, family Aeshnidae.
□ This pair of green darners are in the standard cartwheel or mating wheel formation. The male grasps the female behind her head, and she then bends her body forward to connect with a sperm-containing organ at the front of his abdomen.
Photographed by: Michelle Von Sutphen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA. Date: 2 August, 2013.
Green Darner dragonflies (Anax junius)
Green darners, male and female, Anax junius, family Aeshnidae.
□ The male green darner has a blue abdomen, while the female has a green abdomen. During mating, the male will grasp the female behind her head as shown. Here, the female appears to be dipping the tip of her abdomen in the water to lay eggs. In many cases, however, the female will be separated from the male during egg-laying. See the photographer’s note below.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Harlingen, Texas, USA. Date: 18 October, 2019.
Robert welcomes everyone to view his video of a bird (a pied-billed grebe) eating a Green Darner online here.
Green Darner, female (Anax junius)
Green darner, female, Anax junius, family Aeshnidae.
□ The green darner is a large dragonfly with a wingspan that can top 3 inches (7.5 cm) in the male. The female (shown here) is slightly smaller. Both male and female have a white-outlined black spot just in front of the eyes, a feature that helps to separate them from similar-looking species.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: city of San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 24 August, 2020.
Thomas says this darner was 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. He adds, “At first I just wanted to know what these insects were; now I want to know which sex they are. Where will this end?”

Libellulidae, the skimmer dragonflies

Neon Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula croceipennis)
Neon skimmer, Libellula croceipennis, male, family Libellulidae.
□ The color of the male neon skimmer’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.
Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)
Flame skimmer, Libellula saturata, family Libellulidae.
□ The flame skimmer is very similar in appearance to the neon skimmer (Libellula croceipennis), but the flame skimmer has more color on its wings.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Shilo Porter. Nicely done, Shilo! Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Glen Ellen, California, USA. Date: 6 August, 2020.
Shilo says, “I have never seen one before. We live about a mile from a pond but there’s no water close by.”
Twelve-Spotted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula pulchella)
Twelve-spotted skimmer, Libellula pulchella, female, family Libellulidae.
□ The twelve-spotted skimmer 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 dragonfly (Libellula pulchella)
Twelve-spotted skimmer, Libellula pulchella, male, family Libellulidae.
□ Compare this male twelve-spotted skimmer to the female shown elsewhere on this page. 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.
Scarce Chaser dragonfly (Libellula fulva)
Scarce chaser, female, Libellula fulva, family Libellulidae.
□ The scarce chaser a species of special concern in Great Britain, due to habitat destruction/degradation, but its numbers are starting to creep back up now. This is the female: mainly a rich brown color with black down the center of the abdomen as well as a black patch on each of her hind wings near the body. The male is a light, powdery blue.
Photographed and identified to order by: Sam Walker. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Dorset, England, UK. Date: 29 May, 2020.
Sam spotted it in the garden. It is a wonderful shot!
Broad-Bodied Chaser dragonfly (Libellula depressa)
Broad-bodied chaser, sometimes called a flat-bodied chaser, female, Libellula depressa, family Libellulidae.
□ Adult broad-bodied chasers have dark-brown patches at the base of their wings, a small dark cell (called a pterostigma) at each wingtip, and a row of elongated yellow spots down each side of the abdomen. The female (shown here) has a brown abdomen, while the male’s abdomen is chalky blue, which makes it harder to see the yellow spots.
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.”
Broad-Bodied Chaser dragonfly (Libellula depressa)
Broad-bodied chaser, sometimes called a flat-bodied chaser, female, Libellula depressa, family Libellulidae.
□ This photo shows off the six light-blue patches on the front half of this broad-bodied chaser’s body. For more information on this beautiful, click here.
&dquare;Note: This dragonfly’s genus is usually listed as Libellula, but sometime it may be listed as Platetrum or Ladona.
Photographed by: James Poltorak. Submitted by: Antoni Poltorak. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: St. Albans, Hertfordshire, southern England, UK. Date: 25 May, 2020.
James snapped this photo in his father Antoni’s front yard. Of this dragonfly, Antoni says, “We have never seen one of these before.”
Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami)
Needham’s skimmer, Libellula needhami, family Libellulidae.
Needham’s skimmer has orange-colored pterostigma (the colored cell ner each wingtip) and dark veins toward the forward part of each wing. A similar species called a golden-winged skimmer (Libellula auripennis), which is shown elsewhere on this page, has paler yellow- to cream-colored pterostigma and rather uniform veins.
Photographed and identified to order by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 16 June, 2019.
Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami)
Needham’s skimmer, Libellula needhami, family Libellulidae.
□ The female Needham’s skimmer has a brown thorax with a cream-colored stripe down the middle, and a yellow abdomen with a dark stripe running down the center. The male is mainly dark red. He still has the dark stripe down the abdomen, but no cream stripe on the thorax.
Photographed by: Michelle Von Sutphen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA. Date: 2 August, 2013.
Golden-winged Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula auripennis)
Golden-winged skimmer, Libellula auripennis, family Libellulidae.
□ The golden-winged skimmer is an attractive dragonfly often highlighted with a rich reddish-brown dorsal color, a gold tinge to the wings, and light-yellow pterostigma (the outer cell toward the tip of each of the four wings).
Photographed and identified to family by: Marv Goldberg. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 17 May, 2019.
Golden-Winged Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula auripennis)
Golden-winged skimmer, Libellula auripennis, family Libellulidae.
□ This golden-winged skimmer 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.
Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctosa)
Widow skimmer, Libellula luctosa, male, family Libellulidae.
□ The male widow skimmer 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 dragonfly (Libellula luctosa)
Widow skimmer, Libellula luctosa, female, family Libellulidae.
□ The male widow skimmer lacks the abdominal striping seen in the female of this species.
Photographed by: Pauline Picotte. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 10 July, 2017.
Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctosa)
Widow skimmer, female, Libellula luctosa, female, family Libellulidae.
□ The widow skimmer 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.
Spot-Tailed Dasher (Micrathyria aequalis)
Spot-tailed dasher, male, Micrathyria aequalis, family Libellulidae.
□ The male spot-tailed dasher is pale blue with an abdomen that gradually darkens toward the rear and has two distinctive white markings a few segments from the end, as seen here. The female is has considerable almost tiger-like brown and cream striping. Both male and female have black pterostigma (the dark cells near the tip of each wing).
Photographed by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brownsville, Texas, USA. Date: 18 October, 2019.
Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans)
Great blue skimmer, male, Libellula vibrans, family Libellulidae.
□ The great blue skimmer has dark wingtips as well as a small black blotch about halfway down the forward edge (called the nodus) of each wing. The male has a pale blue body, while the female is mostly brown.
Photographed by: Michelle Von Sutphen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA. Date: 13 July, 2019.
Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans)
Great blue skimmer, female, Libellula vibrans, family Libellulidae.
□ While the male great blue skimmer is indeed pale blue, the female is mainly brown with a patterned abdomen.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 24 July, 2018.
Comanche Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula comanche)
Comanche skimmer, male, Libellula comanche, family Libellulidae.
□ The comanche skimmer has sculpted sides on its thorax, visible in the left photo. Other features of this dragonfly include bicolored pterostigma (the cell at the outer edge of each wing) and white face.
□ The male, shown here, has a sky-blue body color with black-and-white pterostigma, while the female’s body is a patchwork of brown, pale mint-green and yellow, and has black-and-yellowish pterostigma. To see the female, click here (bugguide.net).
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here. Location: Hunt, Texas, USA. Date: 7 August, 2020.
Robert says, “Beautiful and new to me.”
Scarlet Skimmer dragonfly (Crocothemis servilia)
Scarlet skimmer, Crocothemis servilia, family Libellulidae.
Scarlet skimmers are native to China, Japan and Australia, but it has extended its range (this one was photographed in Florida). The female and immature male (shown here) are a rich yellowish-brown color; the male is vivid red, including the eyes and face. Both male and female have a thin black stripe running the length of the abdomen. It looks similar to Needham’s Skimmer (shown elsewhere on this page), but the Scarlet Skimmer is distinguished by a little yellowish smudge at the base of each hindwing, and a light-colored stripe on either side of the thorax (at the shoulder). The Scarlet Skimmer often sits as shown here, with its wings cocked forward.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages Florida, USA. Date: 10 March, 2019.
Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea)
Roseate Skimmer, female, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae.
□ An interesting feature of the female roseate skimmer is the pair of small, downward flaps on the rear of her abdomen (shown in the photo at right). Rather than dropping her eggs into the water, she uses the flaps to pick up a drop of water, lays one egg at a time so it lies within the droplet, and then flicks her abdomen to toss the egg-containing droplet onto some emergent vegetation. When the egg hatches, the young (called a naiad) falls into the water to continue its development.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages Florida, USA. Date: 5 August, 2018.
Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea)
Roseate skimmer, female, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae.
□ This is a female roseate skimmer, which 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 dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea)
Roseate skimmer, male, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae.
□ The male of the roseate skimmer, 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 dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea)
Roseate skimmer, male, Orthemis ferruginea, family Libellulidae.
□ The male roseate skimmer gradually shifts from lavender at the head to neon pink at the rear. It's an ombré dragonfly!
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2017.
Add your photo here!
Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween pennant, Celithemis eponina, family Libellulidae.
□ The wings of Halloween pennant 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 dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween pennant, male, Celithemis eponina, family Libellulidae.
□ The male Halloween pennant has a reddish stigma (the little rectangular window pane at the outside forward edge of each wing), while the female has a yellow to whitish stigma on each wing.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 23 June, 2019.
Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween pennant, female, Celithemis eponina, family Libellulidae.
□ Compare this Halloween pennant to the similar-looking calico pennant, shown elsewhere on this page. The wings of the Halloween pennant have an orange cast (easily seen in this photo), whereas the calico pennant’s wings are clear.
Photographed and identified by: Rosalind B. Miller (of Adelaide, South Australia). Location: On the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Date: 19 October, 2018.
Ros says, “Thanks so much for your site. I was able to identify it (at least I think that I got it right!).” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Great job of identification, Ros!”
Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween pennant, female, Celithemis eponina, family Libellulidae.
□ The bicolored eyes and tiny antennae, as well as the delicate leg spines, are shown in this nice close-up of a Halloween pennant.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 16 October, 2018.
Sheldon says, “Six legs connected to body at three points and it looks like each leg can be controlled.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Yes! Each pair of legs is actually connected to one of the three segments of an insect’s thorax: front to back, the segments are called the prothorax, mesothorax and metathorax. In four-winged insects, two wings are connected to the mesothorax, and the other two are connected to the metathorax.”
Calico Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa)
Calico pennant, female, Celithemis elisa, family Libellulidae.
□ The female calico pennant 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.
Common Picture Wing dragonfly, or Variegated Flutterer dragonfly (Rhyothemis variegata)
Common picture wing, also known as variegated flutterer, male, Rhyothemis variegata, family Libellulidae.
□ The thick black and yellow striped area on its hind wing helps to identify this male common picture wing. The female has a similar striped area, but the wide brown banding extends farther on the hind wings, and also on the forewings.
Photographed and identified by: Antara Kataki. Location: Assam, India. Date: 9 September, 2018.
Common Picture Wing dragonfly, or Variegated Flutterer dragonfly (Rhyothemis variegata)
Common Picture Wing, also known as variegated flutterer, male, Rhyothemis variegata, family Libellulidae.
□ This view of the common picture wing shows the black patch on each hind wing — it almost looks like a W. To see the female, which has more black areas on her wings, click here.
Photographed by: Bunneko Bun Bun. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Kailashahar, Tripura, India. Date: 29 July, 2019.
Graphic Flutterer dragonfly, aka Banded Flutterer, (Rhyothemis graphiptera)
Graphic flutterer, also known as a banded flutterer, Rhyothemis graphiptera, family Libellulidae.
□ This graphic flutterer looks quite similar to a Halloween pennant (shown elsewhere on this page), but the graphic flutterer is from Australia and nearby lands, while the Halloween pennant is a North American species.
Photographed and identified to order by: Georgina Greenhill. Location: Marine Parade in Kingscliff, New South Wales. Date: 2 December, 2019.
Georgina says, “I wondered if the aeroplane named Tiger Moth was based on the design of this insect!”
Four-Spotted Pennant dragonfly (Brachymesia gravida)
Four-spotted pennant, male, Brachymesia gravida, family Libellulidae.
□ The four-spotted pennant is aptly named with its one large dark spot on each wing. It also has a white stigma at the front tip of each wing. The mature male (shown here) has a blue thorax.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 5 June, 2018.
Four-Spotted Pennant dragonfly (Brachymesia gravida)
Four-spotted pennant, female, Brachymesia gravida, family Libellulidae.
□ The female four-spotted pennant (shown here) has a brown thorax and abdomen, and a white stigma at the front tip of each wing. The male is seen in the previous photo.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 17 July, 2018.
Four-Spotted Pennant dragonfly (Brachymesia gravida)
Four-spotted pennant, male, Brachymesia gravida, family Libellulidae.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Kerrville reservoir of the Guadalupe river near the Thompson Parkway, Texas, USA. Date: 28 July, 2017.
Robert also has posted videos of the prince baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca princeps) here; the Kiowa dancer damselfly (Argia immunda) here; and the dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus) here.
Portia's Widow (Palpopleura portia)
Portia’s widow, females, Palpopleura portia, family Libellulidae.
□ These Portia’s widow dragonflies have a black-and-white pterostigma toward the edge of each wing. As seen here, the larger blotches of black on the wings can vary quite a bit from one individual to the next. The female Portia’s Widow has yellow markings on its abdomen; the male has a light-blue abdomen. See the photographer’s wonderful description below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Natalie Rowles. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 29 March, 2020.
Natalie says she found the dragonfly at left sitting on her lemon basil herb, which is in seed-production stage at this time of the year. She adds, “This dragonfly has got black wings, and when it spread the rest of the wings out, it glistened in the sun like gold.”
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Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata)
Black saddlebags, Tramea lacerata, family Libellulidae.
□ This photo of a black saddlebags gives a nice view of the wing veining. The abdomen is hidden a bit in this photo, but if it weren’t, it would help determine whether it was a male or female. The male’s abdomen is just about all black, while the female’s has bands of yellow.
□ Although black saddlebags will sometimes alight (as seen here), they are usually seen on the wing.
Photographed and identified by: Hunter Chaney. Location: Independence, Missouri, USA. Date: 9 September, 2020.
Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata)
Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, Tramea lacerata, family Libellulidae.
□ 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 elsewhere 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 (Tramea lacerata)
Black saddlebags, Tramea lacerata, family Libellulidae.
□ Some black saddlebags 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 (Tramea carolina)
Carolina saddlebags, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae.
Carolina saddlebags have 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 (Tramea carolina)
Carolina saddlebags, female, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae.
□ The Carolina saddlebags 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 here (see the bottom of the webpage).
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 (Tramea carolina)
Carolina saddlebags, female, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae.
□ 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 (Tramea carolina)
Carolina saddlebags, Tramea carolina, family Libellulidae.
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 (Tramea onusta)
Red saddlebags, Tramea onusta, family Libellulidae.
□ The red coloration of this red saddlebags dragonfly is obvious in this photo, but it may appear black depending on the light (and the individual). When the red isn’t this evident, a good way to distinguish this species from the similar Carolina saddlebags (shown above) is to look at the blotch on each hind wing — the blotch covers a bit less area in the red saddlebags. A nice comparison of the two species can be found here (at the bottom of the webpage).
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: August 2018.
Chalk-Fronted Corporal dragonfly (Ladona julia)
Chalk-fronted corporal, immature male, Ladona julia, family Libellulidae.
□ The name of the chalk-fronted corporal makes note of the two chalky “shoulder bars” on the thorax. The bars are most prominent on an adult male, and do not show up as well on this immature male.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Ostego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 18 June, 2015.
Wandering Glider dragonfly (Pentala flavescens)
Wandering glider, also known as a globe skimmer, male and female, Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae.
□ This wonderful photo shows a 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 dragonfly (Pentala flavescens)
Dragonfly emerging, possibly a wandering glider, Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae.
□ The last stage in a dragonfly’s lifestage is when the adult transforms from an aquatic naiad to an adult. This photo captures the final bit of that transformation. Look carefully at the tail end of the dragonfly, which is still emerging from the shell of the naiad. To see a close-up of a naiad, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Katelyn Kessler. Discovered by: Katelyn’s 4-year-old son Gavin Smith. Nice spotting, Gavin! Location: Minto-Brown Island Park, Salem, Oregon, USA. Date: 14 May, 2020.
Katelyn and Gavin were hiking with their dog near the muck around a pond when they saw this dragonfly . Katelyn says, “I’m pretty positive it was a wandering glider because there were others in the area.”
Wandering Glider dragonfly (Pentala flavescens)
Wandering glider, also known as a globe skimmer, Pentala flavescens, family Libellulidae.
□ These photos of the wandering glider showcase the wing venation (veins) and the pterostigma, the colored “windowpane” on the forward edge of the wing tips.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. See his full-size images here and here.. Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 13 July, 2016.
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Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ As males mature, the abdomen of the blue dasher 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 dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ This great view of this blue dasher 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 dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, female, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ The female blue dasher 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 dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, female or immature male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ Immature male blue dashers 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 dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ The green eyes on this male blue dasher show up well in this photo.
Photographed and identified to order by: Darren Keller. Location: Fayetteville North Carolina, USA. Date: 8 September, 2020.
Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, female, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: April, 2018.
Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, female, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ According to bugguide.net, the red in the eyes is of the blue dasher indicative of a juvenile male. Adults have blue eyes.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 2 August, 2018.
Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, male, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 20 June, 2017.
Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue dasher, female, Pachydiplax longipennis, family Libellulidae.
□ There are several other photos of blue dashers on this page, but the way this dragonfly’s right wings are photographed, they look almost like stained glass. Just beautiful!
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 18 April, 2019.
Sheldon says, “Very artful pattern on the right wings.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Spectacular!”
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Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia)
Common whitetail, male, Plathemis lydia, family Libellulidae.
□ Male common whitetails are often seen patrolling their territories over a body of water. They fly back and forth, watching for encroaching rivals — other males — and fly at them to drive them away.
Photographed by: Amy Thomas. Location: North Versailles, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 15 July, 2020.
Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia)
Common whitetail, male, Plathemis lydia, family Libellulidae.
□ The mature male common whitetail (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 has a brown abdomen, much like that of the female (shown in the next photos).
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.”
Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia)
Common whitetail, female, Plathemis lydia, family Libellulidae.
□ The female common whitetail (shown here) has a brown abdomen with white or yellowish-white spots on each side, and each of her wings has three dark patches. Compare the female to the male in the previous photos.
Photographed and identified to family by: Denise Schütz. Identified by KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. Date: 28 May, 2019.
Denise and her husband are recent transplants to Michigan from the Netherlands. She says, “We have traveled a lot around the world, but we have never seen this kind of dragonfly before.”
Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia)
Common whitetail, female, Plathemis lydia, family Libellulidae.
□ The female common whitetail (shown here) has an abdomen that looks much like that of a young immature male. As the immature male ages, however, his abdome begins to take on a lighter blue hue, and as an adult, the male has a white abdomen, which is the feature that gives this species the common name of whitetail.
Photographed by: Michelle Von Sutphen. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Albany, New York, USA. Date: 10 June, 2011.
Brown Backed Red Marsh Hawk dragonfly (Orthetrum chrysis)
Brown-backed red marsh hawk, also sometimes called Spine-Tufted Skimmer or Crimson-Tailed Marsh Hawk, male, Orthetrum chrysis, family Libellulidae.
□ The male brown-backed red marsh hawk 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.
Tri-colored marshhawk dragonfly (Orthetrum luzonicum)
Tri-colored marshhawk, male, Orthetrum luzonicum, family Libellulidae.
□ The male tri-colored marshhawk often has more black on the thorax, but some — like this one — are almost entirely pale blue.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Location: Bengaluru Urban, Karnataka, India. Date: 22 May, 2020.
Slender skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)
Slender skimmer, Orthetrum sabina, family Libellulidae.
□ The pale yellowish-green slender skimmer is also known as a green marsh hawk. It has a characteristic black pattern down its abdomen.
Photographed and identified as a dragonfly by: Kishan Rajah. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malaysia. Date: 12 August, 2020.
Slender skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)
Slender skimmer, Orthetrum sabina, family Libellulidae.
□ Characteristics of the slender skimmer include a pair of light marks on the thorax (often wider than in this individual), and three pairs of light markings running down the side of the abdomen, which gives the dark brown center a wavy appearance.
Photographed by: Marlene. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Dubai Zoo, UAE. Date: 29 January, 2018.
Red-Veined Dropwing dragonfly (Trithemis arteriosa)</i>)
Red-veined dropwing, male, Trithemis arteriosa, family Libellulidae.
□ Characteristics of the eed-veined dropwing include the red veins in much of the wings, the the amber-colored patch in each wing near the body, the black pterostigma (the little black cell) on the tip of each wing, the somewhat purplish thorax, and the red abdomen with black triangular markings.
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 9 April, 2020.
Red-Veined Dropwing dragonfly (Trithemis arteriosa)</i>)
Red-veined dropwing, female, Trithemis arteriosa, family Libellulidae.
□ Compare this female red-veined dropwing to the male pictured previously. She is yellow where the male is red, and had intriguing bi-colored eyes.
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 9 April, 2020.
Skimmer dragonfly (Neurothemis, possibly N. ramburii)
Neurothemis, possibly Neurothemis ramburii, female, family Libellulidae.
Skimmers in this genus have an unusual black pattern on the abdomen, as seen in this photo.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern pondhawk, female, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae.
□ 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 dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern pondhawk, male, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae.
□ This male eastern pondhawk is chalky blue. Compared to the female’s green, it is 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 dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern pondhawk, male, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae.
□ This male eastern pondhawk’s green eyes are a standout against the chalky blue of the body. The frons (the pad at the front of the head) is also green.
Photographed by: Alicia Blankenship. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA. Date: 28 July, 2020.
Alicia says got a visit from this dragonfly in her yard. She says, “It’s very friendly as it gave me a handshake and let me take multiple pictures.”
Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern pondhawk, immature male, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae.
□ 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.
Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern pondhawk, immature male, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae.
□ The immature male eastern pondhawk has three tiny appendages, called claspers, at the very end of the abdomen (shown in the closeup at right). An adult male uses the claspers to grasp the female behind her head during mating.
Photographed and identified by: Rosalind B. Miller of Adelaide, South Australia. Location: Nine Mile Pond in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Date: 19 October, 2018.
Rosalind spotted this Pondhawk while visiting the Everglades and Big Cyprus National Preserve while on vacation from her home in Australia. She says, “There are so many exciting places to visit in the two areas”
Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern pondhawk, female, Erythemis simplicicollis, family Libellulidae.
□ Compare this adult female eastern pondhawk to the adult male (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.
Ground Skimmer dragonfly (Diplacodes trivialis)
Ground skimmer (sometimes called a chalky percher), female, Diplacodes trivialis, family Libellulidae.
□ The female ground skimmer 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 dragonfly (Diplacodes trivialis)
Ground skimmer (sometimes called a chalky percher), male, Diplacodes trivialis, family Libellulidae.
□ Compare this male ground skimmer to the female in the previous photo. Note: The little white dot in the middle of its thorax is the head of an insect pin.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Crimson Marsh Glider, also known as Crimson Dropwing, dragonfly (Trithemis aurora)
Crimson marsh glider, male, Trithemis aurora, family Libellulidae.
□ Unlike the male with his deep neon pink to purple body, the female crimson marsh glider is light brown with black markings. Both the male and female have the orangish-brown wing patches near the body.
Photographed by: Angel Jurial. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arakan, Cotabato, Philippines. Date: 1 February, 2018.
Crimson Marsh Glider, also known as Crimson Dropwing, dragonfly (Trithemis aurora)
Crimson marsh glider, male, Trithemis aurora, family Libellulidae.
□ As shown in this photo, the crimson marsh glider has bright-colored wing veins — described as red, pink or orange — and dark pterostigma (the little dark-colored cell near the tip of each wing).
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong. Date: 28 July, 2019.
Margaret describes it as having a “distinct hot-pink body and orange wings.”
Red-veined darter dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Red-veined darter, also known as a red dragonfly, young male, Sympetrum fonscolombii, family Libellulidae.
□ The male red-veined darter 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 dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Red-veined darter, also known as a red dragonfly, male, Sympetrum fonscolombii, family Libellulidae.
□ 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.
Red-Veined Darter dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Red-veined darter, also known as a red dragonfly, male, Sympetrum fonscolombii, family Libellulidae.
□ This male red-veined darter not only has huge wine-red patches on its wings and red-veins, but also dark-pink pterostigma (the cell at the outside, forward edge of each wing.
Photographed and identified by: Alfa Rasak. Location: Kerala, India. Date: 13 August, 2020.
Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum corruptum)
Variegated meadowhawk, Sympetrum corruptum, family Libellulidae.
□ See the photographer’s comment below.
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.”
Ruby Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum rubicundulum)
Ruby meadowhawk, Sympetrum rubicundulum, family Libellulidae.
Ruby meadowhawks are difficult to identify from other meadowhawks in this genus Sympetrum. Sometimes it comes down to the male’shamuli, which are structures at the bottom of the thorax.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: July, 2016.
Ruby Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum rubicundulum)
Ruby meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum rubicundulum, family Libellulidae.
□ The ruby meadowhawk has a “dirty” white face, as shown in the enlarged photo at right. The closely related White-faced Meadowhawk also has a white face, but it isn’t smudged like the face on this Ruby Meadowhawk. To make matters more confusing, the Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk also has a smudged white face.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Pigeon. Location: Manistee National Forest, Newago County, Michigan, USA. Date: July, 2016.
White-Faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum obtrusum)
White-faced meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum obtrusum, family Libellulidae.
□ 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 dragonfly (Sympetrum obtrusum)
White-faced meadowhawk, Sympetrum obtrusum, family Libellulidae.
□ This is either a female or immature male white-faced meadowhawk, 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 dragonfly (Sympetrum obtrusum)
White-faced meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum obtrusum , male, family Libellulidae.
Photographed by: Daisy Rulz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 2 July, 2017.
Cardinal Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum illotum)
Cardinal meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum illotum, family Libellulidae.
□ 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 dragonfly (Sympetrum illotum)
Cardinal meadowhawk, male, Sympetrum illotum, family Libellulidae.
□ 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.
Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum spp.)
Meadowhawk in the genus Sympetrum, family Libellulidae.
□ Young meadowhawks are typically yellow in color (as shown here). The Meadowhawks species are very difficult to distinguish even as adults, and the young ones are even more challenging.
Photographed and identified to order by: Jamie Rizzle. Location: Michigan, USA. Date: 22 August, 2019.
Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum spp.)
Meadowhawk, immature, in the genus Sympetrum, family Libellulidae.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Megan McMahon. Location: Lower Michigan, USA. Date: July, 2019.
Megan said this was “the first time I’ve tried identifying rather that just admiring.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Way to go, Megan!”
Dragonfly naiad (Sympetrum spp.)
Dragonfly, naiad, quite possibly a meadowhawk in the genus Sympetrum, family Libellulidae.
□ This naiad (the pre-adult stage of a dragonfly that lives underwater) may well be a meadowhawk. The photographer found this one on shore (see her comments below), so it had probably just crawled out of the water to make its transition to an adult. Its back will split open, and the adult will emerge.
Photographed by: Tiffany Korths. Location: Peru, New York, USA. Date: 14 April, 2020.
Tiffany says, “I found the little guy belly up on the beach...cold & sad but still moving. Poor little dude. My 7-year-old and I put him up on the beach rocks and placed a leaf on him for shelter.”
Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera)
Eastern amberwing, female, Perithemis tenera, family Libellulidae.
□ The eastern amberwing has more black spotting and blotching in her wings than the male of the species, 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.
Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera)
Eastern amberwing, male, Perithemis tenera, family Libellulidae.
□ The eastern amberwing 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).”
Rufous Marsh Glider, male, (Rhodothemis rufa)
Rufous marsh glider, Rhodothemis rufa, family Libellulidae.
□ The male rufous marsh glider has a red abdomen, brown thorax with some red markings, and amber smudges at the base of its hind wings. The female is tan with a white stripe down the center of her back.
Photographed by: Rekha Yadav. Location: Ramnagar (Corbett City), Uttarakhand, India. Date: 24 April, 2020.
Little Blue Dragonlet dragonfly (Erythrodiplax minuscula)
Little blue dragonlet, female, Erythrodiplax minuscula, family Libellulidae.
□ 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.”
Coastal Glider, aka Cora's Pennant or Wandering Pennant dragonfly (Erythrodiplax minuscula)
Coastal glider, also known as Cora’s pennant or wandering pennant, female, Macrodiplax cora, family Libellulidae.
□ Both male and female coastal gliders have characteristic black hourglass markings on the abdomen, a dark pterostigma (an outer cell) on each wing, and a small yellowish-orange patch on each hind wing. The male’s abdomen is redder than the female’s. Notice the tiny antenna extending in front of the bicolored eye, as well as the curled hairs that extend behind and below the eye in these excellent photographs.
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Mai Po Marshes, Hong Kong. Date: 13 July, 2019.
Red Rock skimmer (Paltothemis lineatipes)
Red Rock skimmer, Paltothemis lineatipes, family Libellulidae.
□ This Red Rock skimmer was dead so its color has faded. When alive, the males of this species have deep red eyes and a red body, while the females have brownish-red eyes and brown bodies. Both have intricate yellow/cream patterns down the abdomen. To see other photos of this species, click here (Arizona Dragonflies website).
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here Location: San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA. Date: 1 October, 2020.
Thomas says the wingspan about 100 mm. He is particularly fond of the shot at right, and remarks “I especially like the tiny antenna.”
Dragonfly naiad
Dragonfly naiad, unknown species.
□ This is the exuviae (the casing) of dragonfly naiad (the immature form), 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 (the immature form) 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. 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.
□ Once the adult has emerged from the naiad (the naiad shed is shown here), the adult’s wings expand and harden, and the adult flies off.
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.”
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Corduliidae, the emerald dragonflies

Prince Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca princeps)
Prince baskettail, Epitheca princeps, family Corduliidae.
□ 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. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 12 July, 2017.
American Emerald dragonfly (Cordulia shurtleffii)
American emerald, Cordulia shurtleffii, family Corduliidae.
□ The American emerald dragonfly has a fuzzy thorax. The thorax also shows a bit of emerald green. This one has eyes that look bluish-green and brown.
Photographed and identified to order by: Bob McCarthy. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Iron County, Michigan, USA. Date: 11 June, 2019.
Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca spp.)
Either beaverpond baskettail, Epitheca canis), or common baskettail, Epitheca cynosura, female, family Corduliidaee.
□ The beaverpond baskettail and common baskettail look very similar, and the females of the two species even moreso. Both have this gorgeous pattern on the abdomen. Distinguishing them would require a close examination of the underside of the specimen.
Photographed and identified to order by: Denise Rulason. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 2018.
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Gomphidae, the clubtail dragonflies

Small Pincertail dragonfly (Onychogomphus forcipatus)
Small pincertail, also known as green-eyed hook-tailed dragonfly, male, Onychogomphus forcipatus, family Gomphidae.
□ This small pincertail and other species in this family are known as 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.”
Dragonhunter dragonfly (Hagenius brevistylus)
Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus, family Gomphidae.
□ The dragonhunter gets its name because it eats other dragonflies, as well as additional insects, including butterflies (even large ones). A close look at this photo shows that this one is munching on a dragonfly — that’s the tail of another dragonfly hanging out of its mouth!
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s video of a Dragonhunter here, his collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Guadalupe Park, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 2 August, 2010.
Dragonhunter dragonfly (Hagenius brevistylus)
Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus, family Gomphidae.
□ The dragonhunter has vivid green eyes, a broken yellow stripe down the top of its abdomen, yellow striping on its thorax, and a dark gray pterostigma (the colored cell) on the outside forward edge of each wing.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s video of a Dragonhunter here, his collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Guadalupe Park, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 2 August, 2010.
Dragonhunter dragonfly (Hagenius brevistylus)
Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus, family Gomphidae.
□ The dragonhunter is a large dragonfly, measuring 3-3.5 inches (about 75-90 mm) long.
Photographed by: Kenny Fendler. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northwestern Arkansas, USA. Date: 28 September, 2019.
Sulphur-tipped Clubtail (Phanogomphus militaris)
Sulphur-tipped clubtail, Phanogomphus militaris, family Gomphidae.
□ This appears to be a teneral (recently-molted) sulphur-tipped clubtail. The markings on the abdomen will darken as time goes by. Note: This was formerly known by the scientific name Gomphus militaris.
Photographed by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Louise Hayes Park, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 4 June, 2017.
Five-Striped Leaftail (Phyllogomphoides albrighti)
Five-striped leaftail, Phyllogomphoides albrighti, family Gomphidae.
□ The five-striped leaftail has a pattern of stripes on its thorax that alternates between narrow and wide stripes. The very similar-looking four-striped leaftail (Phyllogomphoides stigmatus) typically has a narrow stripe followed by two wider stripes and ending with an even wider stripe. To see the four-striped leaftail, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here. Location: Guadalupe River, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 10 July, 2020.
Midland Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphurus fraternus)
Clubtail, likely midland clubtail, Gomphurus fraternus, family Gomphidae.
□ Several species of clubtails look a lot alike, but this one appears to be a midland clubtail. For a list (and photos!) of dragonfly species in Wisconsin, where this photo was taken, check out the Wisconsin Odonata Survey.
Photographed and identified to family by: Mindy Blumenberg. Identified to tentative species by: Robert B. DuBois, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologist who helps coordinate the Wisconsin Odonata Survey. Thank you, Robert! Location: Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. Date: 1 July, 2020.
Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus)
Russet-tipped clubtail, male, Stylurus plagiatus, family Gomphidae.
□ As seen in this photo, russet-tipped clubtail is mainly green and black/brown, but has a reddish-orange abdomen. The male, seen here, has an expanded club on the end of his abdomen, while the female does not. Both sexes have green eyes, similar striped patterns on the thorax, and a brown pterostigma (the little colored cell)on the tip of each wing.
Photographed and identified as a dragonfly by: Joyce Swendsen. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ocala National Forest, Salt Springs, Florida. Date: 10 September, 2020.
Joyce snapped this shot in her yard. She says, “Bright green and black, green eyes.”
Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (Erpetogomphus designatus)
Eastern ringtail dragonfly, male, Erpetogomphus designatus, family Gomphidae.
□ This colorful male eastern ringtail sports a banded abdomen that finishes in orange,; a brown-marked, lime-green thorax; and pale blue eyes. It is usually found along rivers, as was this one.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here. Location: Nueces River near Camp Wood, Texas, USA. Date: 21 August, 2021.
Robert says, “From the sweltering banks of the Nueces River … 98 degrees F.”

Calopterygidae, the broad-winged damselflies

Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata)
Ebony jewelwing, male, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae.
□ Lovely damselflies, ebony jewelwings are often seen flitting above shaded areas of rivers and streams.
Photographed by: Maryle Barbé. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: On Boyne River, Boyne City, Charlevoix County, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2013.
Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata)
Ebony Jewelwing, male, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae.
□ This ebony jewelwing is one of the species in the family, Calopterygidae. They are aptly called broad-winged damselflies because their wings are considerably wider than most other damselflies, such as members of the Coenagrionidae family (pictured elsewhere on this page).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.
Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata)
Ebony jewelwing, male, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae.
□ The female ebony jewelwing has a single white-colored cell (called a stigma) at the outside edge of each forewing. This one is a male.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.
Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata)
Ebony jewelwing, male, Calopteryx maculata, family Calopterygidae.
Ebony jewelwings is a perfect name for this beautiful damselfly: Its body shimmers like a jewel and its wings are black as ebony.
Photographed by: Derek Sheehan. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: eastern Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA. Date: 6 July, 2019.
Derek says, “We saw these damselflies under a bridge in the Eastern UP of Michigan.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “One of our favorite places!”
Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx virgo)
Beautiful demoiselle, female, Calopteryx virgo, family Calopterygidae.
□ This female beautiful demoiselle sports an unusual combination of metallic green body with brown wings, and each brown wing has a white stigma (the little rectangle) near the tip. In contrast, see the adult male has a blue body, black wings, and no stigma (see the next photo). Immature males of this species have a blend of male and female features: the female’s brown wings and a greenish-blue body, but no stigma.
Photographed and identified as a damselfly by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 2 August, 2018.
Bryan says, “Beautiful shadow patterns.”
Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx virgo)
Beautiful demoiselle, male, Calopteryx virgo, family Calopterygidae.
□ Unlike the female of this species (also pictured on this page), the male beautiful demoiselle has a blue metallic body and blue veining in its wings, but no white stigma in his wings.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 16 July, 2019.
Bryan says, “This morning I was delighted (and lucky) to capture this shot of a beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), male.”

Coenagrionidae, the narrow-winged damselflies

Bluet damselfly (Enallagma spp.)
Bluet damselfly in the genus Enallagma, family Coenagrionidae.
□ This bluet and others in the Coenagrionidae family have long narrow wings that they hold together over the abdomen when they are not flying.
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.”
Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum
Common blue damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum, family Coenagrionidae.
□ This is quite a feat: remaining connected while hovering! And it is also quite a feat to capture this pairing of common blue damselflies 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.”
Bluet damselfly (Enallagma civile)
Bluet damselfly, Enallagma civile, family Coenagrionidae.
Bluet is a name applied to many members of this genus (Enallagma). They are quite similar in appearance, with the males of different species showing only slightly different patterns of blue and black stripes.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 16 June, 2015.
Damselfly (Enallagma spp.)
Bluet in the genus Enallagma, family Coenagrionidae.
□ This pair of photos of bluets shows both the pattern on the abdomen and the common, curled pose of damselflies.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 29 June, 2019.
Bluet (Enallagma spp.)
Bluet in the genus Enallagma, juvenile female, family Coenagrionidae.
□ Entomologist Rosser Garrison provided the identification, and suggested that it is a juvenile female, probably either the northern bluet (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 a 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.”
Damselflies (Enallagma spp.)
Damselflies, in the genus Enallagma, male and female, family Coenagrionidae.
□ This photos shows the amazing color variation between the male and female bluet. Such sexual dimorphism (difference in appearance between the sexes) is typical 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.
Bluet damselfly (possibly Enallagma anna)
Bluet damselfly, possibly a river bluet, female Enallagma anna, family Coenagrionidae.
□ Photographed in Wisconsin, this is one of the approximately 17 species of bluet damselflies that live in that state, according to the Wisconsin Odonata Survey. This may be a female river bluet, which is a small damselfly of less than 1.5 inches long (3-3.5 cm).
Photographed by: Glenn H. Chambliss. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Holy Wisdom Monastery Prairie, Wisconsin, USA. Date: 8 August, 2019.
Double-Striped Bluet, male and female, (Enallagma basidens)
Double-striped bluet, male and female, Enallagma basidens, family Calopterygidae.
□ This pair of double-striped bluets shows the difference in coloration between the male (front) and female. A feature of both sexes is the multiple stripes on the thorax, including one stripe down the center.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Guadalupe River, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 9 July, 2016.
Damselfly (Enallagma spp.)
Bluet in the genus Enallagma, family Coenagrionidae.
□ Like other members of the family Coenagrionidae, this bluet holds its narrow wings together over its back in a typical pose. Species in this family are collectively known as the pond damselflies — they are the damselflies that frequently land on a boat — or a fishing pole.
Photographed and identified to suborder by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 13 May, 2019.
Thomas says, “I’ve never seen a damselfly with such a fuzzy face.”
Pixie Dartlet damselfly (Ischnura nursei)
Pixie dartlet, Ischnura nursei, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The pixie dartlet has a tri-colored abdomen: red to rust-colored in front, yellow in the middle, and dark brown at the rear. Its thorax is green to blue with black stripes.
Photographed by: Saeed Ahmed. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Larkana Sindh, Pakistan. Date: 15 March, 2019.
Saeed says this damselfly made a stop in the house.
Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis)
Eastern forktail, adult male and immature female, Ischnura verticalis, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The adult male eastern forktail (right) has two green stripes running down the back of its thorax, green sides on its thorax, and a black abdomen with the segments near the end in blue with squarish black spots on the sides. Immature females have orange on the thorax, but in the same pattern as the male’s green, and the black of the abdomen starts on the second abdominal segment. Forktails get that name from a tiny projection at the top of the last abdominal segment in the male. The projection is V-shaped, or “forked.” There is an excellent description and close-up of the “fork” here.
Photographed and identified by: Shelley Rice. Identified to gender by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lake Margaret, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. Date: 8 July, 2019.
Shelley notes that “there are so many different kinds it is a little confusing.” KnowYourInsects.org agrees wholeheartedly — damselflies are a confusing group!
Golden Dartlet damselfly (Ischnura aurora)
Golden dartlet, Ischnura aurora, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The golden dartlet 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.
□ Compare this male golden dartlet to that of the closely related Senegal golden dartlet, pictured elsewhere on this page.
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!
Senegal Golden Dartlet damselfly (Ischnura senegalensis)
Senegal golden dartlet, male, Ischnura senegalensis, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The Senegal golden dartlet has a black-strated green thorax, a bit of blue on the abdomen just behind the thorax, black markings down the length its yellow abdomen, and a brilliant blue abdominal tip.
Photographed by: Abhay Khandagle. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Talegaon Dabhade, Pune Maharashtra, India. Date: 16 February, 2020.
Senegal Golden Dartlet damselfly (Ischnura senegalensis)
Senegal golden dartlet, female, Ischnura senegalensis, family Coenagrionidae.
□ Compare the female Senegal golden dartlet to the male in the previous photo. She has similar black markings on her thorax and abdomen, but they do not show up as well due to her more muted coloration.
□ The blue tail in the male is references in its multitude of common names, including ubiquitous bluetail, marsh bluetail and African bluetail.
Photographed by: Olivier Rain. Identified by: KD Dijkstra. Thank you, KD! Location: Madagascar. Date: early October, 2019.
Blue-Tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Blue-tailed damselfly, immature male, Ischnura elegans, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The blue-tailed damselfly is found throughout Europe, and sometimes is called a common bluetail. The immature male has a green thorax, as seen here, whereas the mature male has blue instead. Females may be blue, green, brown, or pinkish.
Photographed by: Val Sutton. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Cosby, Leicestershire, UK. Date: 2020.
Vivid Dancer damselfly (Argia vivida)
Vivid dancer, female, Argia vivida, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The brown cast along the top of the abdomen and on the thorax of this gray vivid dancer 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.
Vivid Dancer damselfly (Argia vivida)
Vivid dancer, female or juvenile male, Argia vivida, family Coenagrionidae.
□ In this cool photo, this vivid dancer 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.
Vivid Dancer damselfly (Argia vivida)
Vivid dancer, male, Argia vivida, family Coenagrionidae.
□ Compare this to the female vivid dancer, also shown on this page. 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.
Blue-Ringed Dancer (Argia sedula)
Blue-ringed dancer, Argia sedula, male, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The blue-ringed dancer male (shown here) is has purplish-blue and azure-blue stripes on its thorax, and azure-blue bands on a black abdomen. The female is more muted in light brown with slightly darker brown markings. The tiny deep-red bumps on the underside of the abdomen in this photo are mites. Mites are very common hitchhikers on damselflies and dragonflies.
Photographed and identified by: Rob Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Guadalupe River, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 19 May, 2017.
Sooty Dancer damselfly (Argia lugens)
Damselfly, possibly sooty dancer, Argia lugens, family Coenagrionidae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Identified tentatively to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 June, 2017.
Blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis)
Blue-fronted dancer, Argia apicalis, family Coenagrionidae.
Blue-fronted dancers, like other dancers in the Argia genus, have long setae (the spine-like hairs) that are fairly close-set on the front of each tibia (the “shin”): the setae are longer than the space between them. Pond damsels in the genus Enallagma are similar in appearance, but the length of the setae on the front of each tibia is only about as long as the space between them. It is a fine distinction!
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Guadalupe River near Ingram, Texas, USA. Date: 24 July, 2020.
Dusky Dancer (Argia translata)
Dusky dancer, Argia translata, family Coenagrionidae.
Dusky dancers are found around rivers and streams from southern Canada all the way to Argentina — a large distribution for this species. The male has a black abdomen with thin light-blue bands of blue, and purple eyes, while the female’s abdomen is less dark, and has eyes that are brown and green. The photographer notes that this Dusky Dancer is perched on a bud of a Purple Leatherflower (Clematis pitcheri).
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of Texas dragonflies and damselflies here and his slow-motion nature video here. Location: Medina River, just south of San Antonio, Texas, USA. Date: 18 May, 2018.
Robert notes that is “one of my all time favorite photos.” It’s a beauty!
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Azure damselfly, female, Coenagrion puella, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The male azure damselfly is bright, deep sky-blue. The female (shown here) is mainly black with stripes of either blue or yellow.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 30 July, 2018.
Narrow-Winged Damselfly, Coenagrionidae
Damselfly, family Coenagrionidae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Brian Hendry. Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Date: 7 July, 2017.
Pseudagrion damselfly (Pseudagrion spp.)
Sprite in the genus Pseudagrion, female, family Coenagrionidae.
□ Because they often have muted colors and less patterning than males, female damselflies are notoriously difficult to identify, but this appears to be a sprite in the genus Pseudagrion. This genus is a large one with more than a thousand species worldwide.
Photographed by: Olivier Rain. Identified by: KD Dijkstra. Thank you, KD! Location: Madagascar. Date: early October, 2019.
Coromandel marsh dart (Ceriagrion coromandelianum)
Coromandel marsh dart, male, Ceriagrion coromandelianum, family Coenagrionidae.
□ The coromandel marsh dart is sometimes called a yellow waxtail because of the male’s yellow abdomen. The female has a more olive-colored abdomen.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Location: Bengaluru Urban, Karnataka, India. Date: 22 May, 2020.
Narrow-Winged Damselfly, Coenagrionidae
Damselfly, family Coenagrionidae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 14 January, 2019.

Lestidae, the spreadwing damselflies

California Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes californica)
California spreadwing, male, Archilestes californica, family Lestidae.
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 damselfly (Archilestes californica)
California spreadwing, male, Archilestes californica, family Lestidae.
□ This is a closeup of the thorax of the California spreadwing, which shows the slightly darker color of the “shoulder bars.”
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 (Lestes disjunctus)
Spreadwing damselfly, female, possibly a northern spreadwing, Lestes disjunctus, family Lestidae.
□ The female northern spreadwing looks much like the slender spreadwing (Lestes rectangularis), but it has dark tarsi (feet) instead of light-colored feet.
Photographed and identified to order by: Sophia Westcott (and her mom). Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northwestern Ohio, USA. Date: 29 August, 2018.
Sophia says, “Thanks for the website; it helped me figure out what it was.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Glad it helped!”
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Add your photo here! Northern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes disjunctus)
Northern spreadwing, female, Lestes disjunctus, family Lestidae.
□ 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.
Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes spp.)
Spreadwing damselfly, possibly a northern spreadwing, Lestes disjunctus, family Lestidae.
□ This spreadwing damselfly was photographed in Saskatchewan, which has several species in the Lestes genus, including the northern spreadwing, Lestes disjunctus. A nice description of Lestes disjunctus and some similar species — plus photos — is available here.
Photographed and identified to family by: Lee Prouten. Identified to genus and possible species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan, Canada. Date: 25 August, 2019.
Lee says, “I had him on that sprig of lavender for about 10 minutes, and was able to get shots from all angles: first with my cell phone, and then with my big Canon.... Delightful.”

Chlorocyphidae, the jewel damselflies
Euphaeidae, the gossamerwing damselflies


Jewel Damselfly, (Rhinocypha colorata)
Jewel damselfly, Rhinocypha colorata, family Chlorocyphidae.
□ This jewel 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.
Chlorocyphid Jewel Damselfly (Aristocypha spuria)
Chlorocyphid Jewel Damselfly, Aristocypha spuria, family Chlorocyphidae.
□ This chlorocyphid jewel damselfly is shown with three of its wings twisted backwards (and the shadow makes it a little confusing), but a close look reveals the clear “window” veins in its hind wings. A nice comparison of four species in this genus is available here. Note: This genus is sometimes still listed as Rhinocypha.
Photographed and identified by: Rekha Yadav. Location: Nainital, Uttarakhand, India. Date: 23 October, 2019.
Add your photo here! Gossamerwings damselfly (Anisopleura lestoides)
Gossamerwings, Anisopleura lestoides, family Euphaeidae.
□ This gossamerwings 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.

Unidentified damselflies

“Damselfly
Damselfly, naiad.
□ This is the immature form — the naiad (sometimes called a nymph) — of a damselfly, and it was found in a creek. The naiad lives underwater, and has three underwater-breathing gills at the end of the abdomen (they’re stuck together in this photo so they look like a thick tail). When the naiad is mature enough, it will crawl onto land, the back will split open, and an adult will emerge. Once it does, its wings expand and it lives on land for the rest of its life.
Photographed by: Patricia Leader. Location: Auburn, New York, USA. Date: 27 May, 2020.
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