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Horticulture & Gardening Tips

Dragonflies and Damselflies
By Pam Flamm
Posted on 10/28/2020 10:45 PM

One of the pleasures of summer is seeing the beautiful insects called Dragonflies and Damselflies swooping over fresh water ponds, water features and our swimming pools with iridescent wings and oversized eyes.

These jewel-like, other worldly creatures are members of the insect order Odonata with over 6000 species worldwide and about 450 species in North America. They prey on mosquitoes, among other insects, so we should welcome them into our gardens! They are rapid flyers sometimes reaching speeds of 25 miles per hour and have the ability to hover much like a hummingbird.

There are a few ways to distinguish between dragonflies from damselflies: Dragonfly and Damselfly

Eyes:  Dragonflies have much larger eyes than damselflies, with the eyes taking up most of the head as they wrap around from the side to the front of the face. The eyes of a damselfly are large, but there is always a gap of space between them.

Body shape:  Dragonflies have bulkier bodies than damselflies, with a shorter, thicker appearance.  Damselflies have a body made like the narrowest of twigs, whereas Dragonflies have a bit of heft.

Resting Position of Wings:  Dragonflies hold their wings out perpendicular to their bodies when resting, like an airplane.  Damselflies fold their wings up and hold them together across the top of their backs.