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Dragonfly - Damselfly

21st Nov 2019

Dragonfly – Damselfly

One of my personal favourite insects to see, I am lucky enough to spend a lot of my time from early Spring onwards Fishing or walking my Dog around the vast lakes, ponds and waterways around us here in beautiful Yorkshire.

It’s always a pleasure to see Dragonflies dancing around, beautiful in colour and elegant in flight they are a treat to see around any garden pond too and a favourite amongst our customers. You’ll usually see them later in the year when the butterflies are winding down They bring some real late season colour.

What’s the Difference?

There are 17 species of Damselfly and 23 of Dragonfly which are resident here in the United Kingdom, in surveys there have been the occasional visitors from Europe too.

The Dragonfly is in a sub order called Anisoptera which means unequal winged as their hind wings are usually broader then their forewings.

The Damselfly is in the sub order called Zygoptera which means paired wings with all four wings being of very similar shape and size.

The wings and their size are the easiest way to tell the different species apart, the Dragon fly when at rest has its wings open and the damselfly doesn’t, as pictured above.

Other differences are the size of the eyes, Dragonflies have much bigger eyes with no gap between them, unlike their closely related friends who always have a gap. The dragonfly’s body is also bulkier than its slimmer relative whose body looks like a dainty twig.

Habitat and Diet

I think it goes without saying that these insects are found near water; lakes, ponds, rivers and canals being favourite spots. However not all variety’s will be found in the same locations, loads more information can be found here:

Both these airborne marvels feed on other flying insects, obviously these vary in size.

Dragonfly – Midges, mosquitos, moths and sometimes butterflies will all be eaten. Their larva which live in water have even been known to eat smaller fish!

Damselfly – Mosquitos, midges, aphids are all popular food. There are also giant varieties of damselfly that have been known to take spiders straight from their webs!