Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Monday with Damsels and Dragons

This spring/summer we have been blessed with a profusion of dragonflies and damselflies. The two insects belong to the same order, but there are significant differences in the two, some of which are obvious to the casual observer. A primary difference is the way they hold their wings when they are at rest.

Damselflies typically hold their wings upright or along their body and close together when they are perched. They are often closed in such a way that you can only see one set of wings.

Most of the damselflies around the pond and in the immediate vicinity have rather long, tubular bodies, also, though I'm not sure this is a defining characteristic of all damselflies.

Dragonflies, on the other hand, will hold their wings horizontally or slightly lower when at rest and it is obvious they have two sets of wings. Some such as the one below will actually bend their wings downward and a bit forward.

Most of the dragonflies around here have somewhat wider, heavier looking bodies than the damselflies. This guy is moderately stout and will hold his wings somewhat horizontal for a bit then fold them down further when he settles in for a longer rest.

Most of the dragonflies will normally perch facing away from the shore toward the water which provides a good view of their full body and wings. This particular fellow, however, is not set in his ways and will perch facing in or out. The head-on view always tickles me. The colors and shape of the head and upper body seem to portray a cartoon-like face complete with personality. Sometimes I'm not sure who is studying whom.


  1. haha! It does seem that they take an interest in us! and they appear to be getting more used to my visits - that could all be in my head but it has certainly helped to get better pics!
    Your blue guy is gorgeous!
    I was happy to find that many of the ones near me will stay year round due to the climate - I would feel sad if I started finding little dragonfly bodies...

  2. I really liked that blue one, too. So pretty with the green and all.

    Looks like I will be losing most of my dragons and damsels within 3-4 months and probably will not see many until next May perhaps. But at least I know there should be plenty of naiads in the pond and we should have plenty next year barring some unforeseen event.

  3. have you been able to spot the naiads in the pond?

  4. I've seen a few here and there but I think most of them blend in so well it is hard to spot them in the muck along the very shallow water on the edges. And of course many may be too far out for me to spot them anyway. I think they probably remain fairly still and then spring forward to catch their prey if it happens to venture to close. Just a guess on my part.

    I netted a few when I was catching tadpoles for the kids (and adults like myself who think they are kids) earlier this spring and summer.

    My assumption on the naiads come from the fact that I see plenty of mating and the depositing of eggs plus the evidence of the exoskeletons they leave behind when they finally leave their water home and become dragons and damsels.


Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.