Dragonflies and Damselflies are members of the insect order named Odonata.
The Greek root of Odonata means tooth, and many people think of them as insects that bite rather than sting.
Dragonflies do in fact bite, however, it's limited to biting other insects for food, rather than biting people.
Because they eat insects, dragonflies are classified as beneficial insects.
Dragonfly body colors vary both between and within families. Sometimes starting with a dragonfly body color helps identify it.
Blue dragonflies, for example, tend to be either skimmers or darners. Please click or tap on a green tab located at either the right or left side of the slide show to see some of the color of dragonflies.
Dragonfly popularity also extends beyond the beneficial insect category, with popular dragonfly interest found in the design world as well as the nature explorer's world.
Identifying dragonflies, while not as popular a past time as bird or butterfly identification, draws an enthusiastic audience. The articles:
provide general background material that covers dragonflies and dragonfly identification.
Worldwide, some sixty-five hundred dragonfly species have been identified, divided into about six hundred genera.
About four hundred and fifty Odonata species, divided into eleven different genera are native North American species.
With well over two-hundred different odonata (dragonfly and damselfly) species, Texas can claim the title of dragonfly capital of the United States.
Only one, the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly, located in the Upper Midwest, is listed as an endangered species.
The pictures in this album represent a variety of dragonfly and damselfly species. To help with identification, pictures of males and females of each species are shown when possible.
The species are also presented and arranged according to their dragonfly family.
The three dozen plus listed Libellulidae species, which constitute the bulk of presented dragonflies, can be explained by two facts.
First, Libellulidae are the largest dragonfly family (in terms of number of species) in the United States.
Second, Libellulidae are also camera friendly dragonflies. Most species tend to perch on branches, making them easy to photograph. In many instances, the genera presentations consists of multiple species.
The thirty plus darner species fit on the other end of the camera friendly scale.
They are very difficult to photograph because of their tendency to fly, rather than perch, throughout the day.
With the exception of the baskettails, most emerald species can be difficult to photograph. Some fly for only a limited time during the day. Others have a short life span, and still other species tend to hide in their territorial brush and branches.
Damselflies, a separate section, listed as a link at the bottom of the box, are almost always smaller than the dragonflies. Their diminutive size means a good macro lens is necessary for good quality photographs.
The video briefly presents the Pacific Spiketail.
© 2008-2011 Patricia A. Michaels