Damsels V Dragons

Ken Hayes

They're both long, thin and brightly coloured - but do you know how to tell the difference between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly?

At this time of year, there is no shortage of dragonflies and damselflies motoring around the region to add a splash of summer colour hither and thither.

You can tell the difference between stick-thin damselflies and sturdier dragonflies in flight and at rest. In flight dragonflies are much more focused on where they are heading, in a solid straight line about the same height above ground unless disturbed. Damselflies appear to zig-zag a lot more and appear to have more trouble getting around than the dragonflies.

When they land, damselflies will rest with their wings laid back along their long, slim bodies. Dragonflies settle with wings at right angles to their thicker torsos, hence lots of intricate detail on pictures.

In general, dragonflies are studier, thicker-bodied insects, while damselflies have longer, thinner bodies. Once the obvious differences are learned—eyes, body, wings, and resting position—most people find it fairly easy to identify the insects and tell them apart.

So next time you visit Brockholes, take a look around the lakes and the reedbeds and see which you can find.