Odonata - the dragonflies, and damselflies

bug

penny
Note the size of the real penny and use it to judge the size of the bugs in the following pictures.

Suborder: Anisoptera, Dragonflies

Libellulidae larva

adult Anisoptera

Class: Insecta

Order: Odonata, dragonflies and damselflies

Suborder: Anisoptera, dragonflies

Size: Larvae: 1-2 inches (25-50 mm); Adults: 2-4 inches (50-100 mm)

Habitat & Habits: Dragonfly larvae ("nymphs") live in streams, lakes, and ponds; usually they are stout-bodied and crawl on the bottom. They can move rapidly by jetting water out of their abdomens, which shoots them forward. Gills are rectal, located inside the end of the abdomen. Adults are aerial acrobats, capable of flying backward, forward, and hovering, and may fly long distances from water. Their flying capabilities are so good that engineers study them for new aircraft designs. Adults hold their wings out to their sides when at rest.

Feeding: Larvae and adults are predacious. Larvae sit and wait for unsuspecting prey to come near, then shoot out their hinged lower jaw to impale their prey; the snatch is so fast as to be almost invisible. Adults catch prey "on the wing" and are voracious eaters of mosquitoes.

Water Quality Indicator: Larvae exhibit a range of sensitivities to pollution, depending on genus or species. Some are quite good water quality indicators.


Suborder: Zygoptera, Damselflies

larval damselfly

larval damselfly jaw

adult damselfly

Class: Insecta

Order: Odonata, dragonflies and damselflies

Suborder: Zygoptera, damselflies

Size: Larvae: 0.5-2 inches (13-50 mm); Adults: 1.5-3 inches (35-75 mm)

Habitat & Habits: Larval damselflies live in streams, lakes, and ponds. These larvae are much more slender and delicate-looking than dragonfly larvae. At the end of their abdomen, damselfly larvae have three leaf-like gills for respiration, which re-grow when knocked off. Larvae swim weakly by undulating their bodies. Adult damselflies are also much more slender than dragonflies, but are good fliers nonetheless. Most (but not all) adults hold their wings above their bodies when at rest.

Feeding: Larvae and adults are predators. Larvae sit and wait for unsuspecting prey to come near, then shoot out their hinged lower jaw to impale their prey; the snatch is so fast as to be almost invisible. Adults catch their prey (mayflies, mosquitoes, midges) while flying.

Water Quality Indicator: Damselfly larvae are moderately tolerant to tolerant of nutrient pollution.