Wings In Flight

Dragonflies & Damselflies.
Order - Odonata

Below is a handful of photos taken of some of the Dragonflies and Damselflies that have visited my pond so far. I've always loved watching these delicate winged insects but only in the past few years have I started taking photos and learning more about them. I am not an expert & I have tried to ID them as accurately as possible & species names in books frequently change. So, if you see any that I have misidentified do let me know! Photos will be added when taken :-)
You may scroll down or jump to the Damselfly section here -
Damsels


Dragons...
Sub-order - Anisoptera

Common Green Darner
Common Green Darner
Anax junius..


Neon Skimmer Dragonfly Neon Skimmer Dragonfly
Neon Skimmer
Libellula croceipennis


Eastern Pond Hawk Dragonfly

Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly
Eastern Pondhawk (Green Clearwing)
Erythemis simplicicollis


Blue Dasher Dragonfly
Blue Dasher
Pachydiplax longipennis

 Blue Dasher Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher newly emerged, known at this stage in life as a "teneral". Here it has recently emerged from its larval skin and is finishing off drying out its wings before flying for the first time. To begin with the wings are held together over its back at which point the teneral is helpless. If knocked from its perch it will die. Only towards the end of drying does it spread out its wings. It will fly soon after this and the dragonfly is now full grown, it will not grow any larger, however small it is.


Halloween Pennant
Remains of a Halloween Pennant.
Celithemis eponina


Damsels...
Sub-order - Zygoptera

Smaller than dragonflies, their wings are held together over their backs and their eyes are separated, whereas the eyes of dragonflies usually come together on top of the head.

Kiowa Dancer Damselfly Kiowa Dancer
Kiowa Dancer
Argia immunda


Unkown Damselfly
Unknown? Maybe another "Dancer" type, or possibly a "Bluet"? Hard to see from this photo, but it was pale grey/lilac in color. (Being so tiny and almost transparent it was hard to focus on). I am unable at this point to determine this species.


Familiar Bluet male and female.
Familiar Bluet
Enallagma civile


Life Stages

Egg - Lasting approximately 1-3 weeks
Larva (Nymphs) - May last for several years
Emergance.
Dispersal - Couple of days - 3 weeks.
Reproduction - 2-3 weeks for dragonflies, 1-2 weeks for Damselflies.
Egg laying.
Life Expectancy - The majority of a dragonflies life is spent as larva, sometimes lasting for several years. Once an emerged adult they live for approximately 1-2 months.

Food sources- Dragonflies and damselflies prey on small flying insects such as gnats & mosquitoes. If swarms of arial bugs occur very often you will find many dragonflies taking advantage of the abundant food source.
Predators- Predators of the Dragonfly and Damselfly include frogs, toads, fish, spiders and birds such as the
Purple Martin. (If you wish to get rid of mosquitoes, don't attract Purple Martins, attract Dragonflies or bats instead!)


Links...

Fossils of Dragonflies have been recovered dating back around 300 million years ago. This predates the dinosaurs by 100 million years and birds by 150 million years. We can help protect the future of Dragonflies and Damselflies by preserving their habitat. By installing garden ponds and protecting other water sources from being polluted we can help ensure the survival of this delicate winged insect.
For more information regarding Dragon and Damselflies check out some of the links below.

A Beginners Guide to Dragonflies.  A very good introduction to the species.
Odonata Central   Dragonflies and Damselflies of North America
USGS  Dragonflies & Damselflies (Odonata) of the United States.
Damselflies of Texas   Excellent info, photos, checklists and distribution of damselflies in Texas.


Books...

Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A field Guide to Dragonflies of North America by Sidney W. Dunkle
Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies.
Dragonflies:Behaviour and ecology of Odonata. by Philip S. Corbet
Dragonflies of the world by Jill Silsby, Michael J. Parr.
The Hand of Nature: Butterflies, Beetles and Dragonflies. by Jacques Kerchache


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