These two insects are colorful and fascinating. They are quite common during late summer in the garden. The close similarities make it difficult to tell the difference.
So, what is the main difference between dragonfly and damselfly? A dragonfly has a sturdier and thicker body while a damselfly has a longer and thinner body.
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Comparison Table (Dragonfly Vs Damselfly)
|Definition||It is a fast flying and long-bodied predatory insect||It is a predatory insect with a slender body.|
|Sub Order||Anisoptera (unequal winged)||Zygoptera (yoke-winged)|
|Shape of Eye||Broad and rounded eyes||Spherical eyes|
|Position of Eye||Touches the top of the head||Eyes separate at each side of the head|
|Body Size||Large||Relatively small|
|Body Shape||Stockier||Long and slender|
|Thorax||Broader than abdomen||Narrow but have the same width as the abdomen|
|Wing Shape||Not similar where hind wing are broader at the base||Similar where both have the same shape and size|
|Flight||Great fliers hence cover long distance||Great preachers hence cover a short distance|
|Water Sources||Hate water||Love to fly over water sources|
|Position of the Wings at Rest||Wings held open either horizontally or vertically||Wings tend to remain closed over the abdomen|
|Discal Cell||Divided into triangles||Undivided and quadrilateral|
|Male Appendages||Has a pair of superior anal and single inferior appendages||Has two pair of anal appendages|
|Female Appendages||Have vestigial ovipositors||Have functional ovipositors|
|Eggs||Tend to be large and round||Tend to be cylindrical and long|
|Larvae||The gaseous exchange takes place through rectal tracheal gills and stocky bodies||The gaseous exchange takes place through caudal gills and slender bodies|
What Is a Dragonfly?
It is a fast-flying and long-bodied predatory insect. It has a pair of transparent wings that tend to spread out while at rest.
These insects have a strong and purposeful flight. They fly for a long distance and spend most of their time in the larvae stage.
The common species of dragonflies are migrant hawker, brown, hawker, common darter, Southern hawker, and broad-bodied chaser.
What is a Damselfly?
It is a slow fly and slender insect. The wings tend to close over the abdomen when the insect is at a resting position.
The four wings of the insect are similar in terms of size and shape. Besides that, they have a weak flight marked with fluttering.
These insects tend to fly over water sources. The common species of a damselfly are blue-tailed damselfly, large red damselfly, azure damselfly, common blue damselfly, and emerald damselfly.
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Main Differences between Dragonfly and Damselfly
- Dragonfly is larger while damselfly are relatively smaller
- Dragonfly have stockier bodies while damselfly have long and slender bodies
- Dragon has broad and rounded eyes while damselfly have spherical bodies
- The thorax of the dragonfly is wider while that of the damselfly is narrower
- Dragonfly are great fliers while damselfly are great perches
- Wings of the dragonfly are held open while at rest while that of damselfly remain close over the body
- The wings of the dragonfly are different while that of damselfly are the same in terms of shape and size
- The dragon lay large and round eggs while damselfly lay cylindrical and longer eggs
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Similarities between Dragonfly and Damselfly
- Both are predatory insects
- Both are invertebrate arthropods
- Both belong to order Odonata
- Both are common during late summer
- Both have wings attached to the thorax
- Both have elongated abdomen
- Both have extremely large eyes
- Both undergo complete metamorphosis
Dragonfly vs Damselfly FAQs
How Are Dragonflies and Damselflies Beneficial?
These predatory insects feed on mosquito larvae, aquatic insects, flies, mosquitoes, moths, and gnats. This is quite beneficial to human beings since they cannot get malaria.
Do Dragonflies Have A Purpose?
Yes. They help humans reduce the use of pesticides and hence conserve the environment. These insects feed on mosquitoes and other insects.
What Do Dragonflies Symbolize?
These insects symbolize wisdom, change, transformation, light, and adaptability in life. However, the symbol tends to vary depending on culture and geographical location.
Are Dragonflies Friendly To Humans?
Dragonflies are harmless to humans. However, if you force your finger into the mouth then they have no option but to bite.
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The key difference between damselfly and dragonfly is based on the shape and size of their bodies. The good news is that both are predatory insects and belong to the same order.
More Sources and References
- Dance with Damselflies. Bio web
- Male or Female Dragonflies. Shropshire