How to tell a dragonfly from a damselfly
Dragonflies and damselflies are closely related cousins in the Odonata family but it isn’t difficult to tell them apart.
Wait until they alight: damselflies perch with their wings closed, and dragonflies with their wings open.
Common blue damselfly male by Charles J Sharp (CC BY.SA 4.0)
Broad bodied chaser male by Charles J Sharp (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Dragonflies have short chunky bodies, while damselflies are long and slender
Both have very large eyes but a dragonfly’s eyes are close together, seeming to meet at the top of its head, whereas damselflies’ eyes are separated by a gap.
Dragonfly’s compound eye (CC0)
Large red damselfly by Charles J Sharp (CC BY-SA 4.0)
All Odonates have two pairs of wings but a damselfly’s wings are all the same size and shape whereas dragonflies have differently shaped fore and hind wings: their hind wings are much broader and taper towards the body.
Dragonflies identified in the reserve:
broad bodied chaser
Damselflies identified in the reserve:
common blue damselfly
blue tailed damselfly
large red damselfly
Header image: female broad bodied chaser © Simon Knight