Collectively, dragonflies and damselflies belong to the group (or Order) of insects known as Odonata, divided into two distinct groups or sub-orders; Anisoptera (true dragonflies) and Zygoptera (damselflies).

Key information about damselflies:

  • Typically damselflies are smaller and more dainty than dragonflies and have a weaker, more fluttering flight.
  • Damselflies have small eyes that are separated on either side of the head.
    Damselflies have similarly sized pairs of wings – Zygoptera means ‘equal wings’.
  • Though not an absolute rule, damselflies tend to rest with their wings closed.

10 species of damselfly may be found in Bedfordshire:

Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puella. Female, Marston Thrift.
A typical damselfly, the Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puella