Dragonflies and Damselflies


Blue Dasher

Do you know the difference? I finally do, but it took a while seeing many of them before it sunk in. First thing I noticed was the dragonflies are porky compared to the slender damselflies.


Ebony Jewelwing – Calopteryx maculata

Next thing I saw that was different was the way they positioned their wings at rest. The dragonfly looks like an airplane. The damselfly points them skyward or backwards and they are held together.



Ischnura verticalis – male

The eyes are different too. The damselfly has two big, separately spaced eyes. The dragonfly, the eyes run into each other. See how they meet at the top in the image below?


Blue Dasher



Eastern Pond Hawk

Both come in lots of colors. It really is like finding a prize when a new variety is spotted.


And both do the nasty in a similar way.


Marsh Bluet – Enallagma ebrium

I bet you did not think I was heading in that direction!


Blue Dashers


And you think your day is bad…

Getting a theme here? I keep running into insects in the middle of their private moments. Did you see on GWGT the two Red Milkweed Beetles. I got the dirtiest look from the female. Also don’t miss last post, Dragonflies in Gold.

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16 Responses to Dragonflies and Damselflies

  1. Nick Hunter says:

    Great post Donna. Happy to see this subject embraced and captured so well in a popular and widely read blog like yours!

    • donna213 says:

      Ha! I am only hoping Nature and Wildlife Pics becomes popular like GWGT. It is a hard “market” to break into with all the fine photographers and naturalists. I don’t think of myself as either, but I do like to learn, observe and understand. I also like to be in nature.

  2. That’s amazing. I never would have thought that those animals could contort their bodies that way. Stupendous shots!

    • donna213 says:

      I had to laugh seeing them. The last one, that guy got no pleasure. She just carried him around hanging in midair. Poor buck. I was not sure if he knew what to do.

  3. Mike Powell says:

    Wonderful shots and a great explanation about some of my favorite creatures. A lot of folks haven’t really thought about the differences and lump them all together.

    • donna213 says:

      Just an explanation as how I learned them by observing. I think I would like entomology, but it really is learning a lot of subtle differences. That is what makes identifying them so difficult.

  4. You are such an excellent photographer. Very impressive. I love your blog!!!

  5. Pat says:

    Wonderful shots. Thanks for explaining the difference.

    • donna213 says:

      I know there are more technical differences, but these are just ones I observed. I am sure a bug specialist could add all kinds of differences.

  6. My goodness they are doing the nasty quite a bit aren’t they 🙂 I love watching these creatures and figuring out who is who…so lovely especially close up

  7. My Heartsong says:

    Ha Ha! Glad you explained the difference and I agree, it is quite fun to discover a new colour.

  8. What a wonderful tutorial on dragonflies and damselflies. The photos are spectacular.

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