Dragon or Damsel?

Dragonflies and damselflies belong to a group (or “order”) of insects known as Odonata. Within this order, there are two main types (or “sub-orders”): damselflies (Zygoptera) and the true dragonflies (Anisoptera).

Damselflies are generally small, delicate insects with a weak flight. Their wings all have the same size and shape. Their eyes are widely separated and positioned on either side of the head. When at rest, they hold their wings closed along their abdomen – with the exception of Emerald damselflies (Lestes species) that hold them partly open.

True dragonflies are usually larger, more robust insects and are fast, powerful fliers. Their hindwings are broader than their forewings. They also have multi-facetted eyes, but these are much larger, occupy most of the head and are very close to one another, often touching. When perched, they hold their wings opened out flat.