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Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata)

Dragonflies are among the most beautiful insects here in the Low Countries, except for some butterflies perhaps. Even though they are skilful flyers and colourful animals once adults, their larvae are another cup of tea. They do resemble their adults a bit, but lack the long abdomen and the wings. Very often you will see two dragonflies flying about together. Often the shape of the two bodies will remind you of a heart or a wheel. Actually they are mating. The male grabs the female just behind the head. The female holds on to the male just behind the body. In this position the male is impregnating her. Now this is odd, for the male's sexorgans are located at the end of his tail. So if the end of the females body is just behind his own body and not near the end of his tail, how does he do it? After producing his sperm, he transports it to a special save-keeping organ near the front of the tail. And that's exactly where the female grabs him! When she is depositing her eggs the males of many species hold their grip on the female, to prevent other males from breaking in and taking over. Both the larvae and the adults are carnivores.


Photograph of Aeshna mixta
Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta

Adult Migrant Hawkers are regularly seen in gardens and the larvae are often living in garden ponds.. More....


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


foto Aeshna mixta
Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea

Closely related to the previous species, but the dark markings on segments 9 and 10 are connected. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


foto Libellula depressa, male
Broad-bodied Chaser, male Libellula depressa

Unmistakable: the Broad-bodied Chaser has a broad body indeed. The back of older males and some very old females is blue. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


photograph Libellula depressa, female
Broad-bodied Chaser, female Libellula depressa

The back of young male Broad-bodied Chasers and most females is yellowish. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


photograph Libellula quadrimaculata
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata

The Four-spotted Chaser is a rather sombre, brown-black Dragonfly. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


Photograph Sympetrum vulgatum
Vagrant Darter Sympetrum vulgatum

The Vagrant Darter has a dull red colour, but can be better identified by looking at other small details. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


Photograph Sympetrum striolatum
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum

Most common darter all over Britain. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


Photograph Sympetrum sanguineum
Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum

The Ruddy Darter is the reddest of all red darters. more...


Suborder: Dragonflies (Anisoptera)


photograph of Pyrrhosoma nymphula
Large Red Damsel-fly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Unmistakable red species, very common in gardens too. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Coenagrion puella, male
Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella

The male of the very common Azure Damselfly is mainly blueish. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Coenagrion pulchellum, male
Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum

The Variable Damselfly is best identified by the wine glass marking on the back. The back of females is almost entirely black usually. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Enallagma cyathigerum
Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum

The males of the Common Blue Damselfly always remain near water, the females don't. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Ischnura elegans
Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans

The back of the female of the Blue-tailed Damselfly is mainly black, except for a striking blue ring near the end of the body. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Sympecma fusca
Winter Damselfly Sympecma fusca

One of the very few European species overwintering when adult. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Calopteryx splendens
Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens

Actually only the male is banded. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


Photograph of Chalcolestes viridis
Willow Emerald Damselfly Lestes viridis

The Willow Emerald Damselfly deposits her eggs in trees. more...


Suborder: Damselflies (Zygoptera)


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This page has last been modified on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
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