Insects & other Arthropods David A Kendall   BSc PhD
E-Mail: kendalluk@aol.com
Order Odonata (Dragonflies & Damselflies)
(Odonata, from Greek odontos = tooth)
Class: Insecta

Large winged insects, with very elongate bodies; usually brightly coloured. Eyes very large and prominent. Antennae small and filamentous. Mouthparts for biting, with mandibles strongly toothed (from which the order gets its name). Two pairs of narrow, shiny, membranous wings, with an intricate network of veins. Damselflies hold the wings vertically over the body or partly spread when at rest, whereas the dragonflies always rest with wings outspread. Abdomen with a pair of small, 1-segmented cerci. Simple metamorphosis, with 10-15 nymphal instars depending on species. The nymphs are aquatic, living in freshwater ponds, lakes, rivers and streams. They breath by means of internal rectal gills (dragonflies) or by means of three external abdominal 'tails', which form feather-like caudal gills (damselflies). The mouthparts of nymphs are cleverly modified to form an elongate, prehensile structure known as the mask. This structure is hinged in the middle and bears a pair of terminal claws. The whole arrangement is called the mask because when not in use and folded back under the head, it conceals the rest of the mouthparts. When food is sighted, the mask is thrown forward and the prey is impaled on the claws. Over 4,500 species are described worldwide and just over 40 of these are recorded from the British Isles.

Sub-order Zygoptera (Damselflies) Top  |  Home Page
Banded Demoiselle (male)
Calopteryx splendens - Banded Demoiselle (male)
b. 40-45 mm
Beautiful Demoiselle (male)
Calopteryx virgo - Beautiful Demoiselle (male)
b. 40-45 mm (Photo: A. Wood)
Beautiful Demoiselle (female)
Calopteryx virgo - Beautiful Demoiselle (female)
b. 40-45 mm
Large Red Damselfly
Pyrrhosoma nymphula - Large Red Damselfly
b. 35-40 mm
Azure Damselfly (male)
Coenagrion puella - Azure Damselfly (male)
b. 35-40 mm
Sub-order Anisoptera (Dragonflies) Top  |  Home Page
Southern Hawker
Aeshna cyanea - Southern Hawker
b. 55-65 mm
Southern Hawker (thoracic & abdominal markings)
Aeshna cyanea - Southern Hawker
(detail of thoracic & abdominal markings)
Migrant Hawker
Aeshna mixta - Migrant Hawker
b. 50-55 mm
Migrant Hawker (thoracic & abdominal markings)
Aeshna mixta - Migrant Hawker
(detail of thoracic & abdominal markings)
Common Darter (male)
Sympetrum striolatum - Common Darter (male)
b. 30-35 mm
Common Darter (female)
Sympetrum striolatum - Common Darter (female)
b. 30-35 mm
Broad-bodied Chaser (male)
Libellula depressa - Broad-bodied Chaser (male)
b. 40-45 mm
Broad-bodied Chaser (female)
Libellula depressa - Broad-bodied Chaser (female)
b. 40-45 mm (Photo: K. Sissins)
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Copyright © 2014 David Kendall