Different Types of Dragonflies

by admin - February 8th, 2013.
Filed under: Study of Dragonflies.

Dragonflies belong to the order Odonata, along with damselflies. Dragonflies are known as Anisoptera, while damselflies are known as Zygoptera.

Dragonfly Families

The dragonflies belonging to the libellulidae family are the skimmers and perchers. They can be found in nearly all areas inhabitable by dragonflies in North America, though not the extreme north areas like Alaska and Canada. This is one of the most diverse families, and thus there is no one type of body that exemplifies it. Libellulidae does have several types of genus that fall under it:

  • Erythemis – found mostly in the topics, they have a slender and triangular abdomen. They have long spines on the front of the legs.
  • Leucorrhinia – small, with slender abdomens, these types are mostly black in color with red markings. Most species can be found at high elevations.
  • Libellula – these dragonflies have thick abdomens and are usually large to medium-sized. While most species are brown or black with yellow markings, adult males turn a powdery pale blue.
  • Pachidyplax – only one species belongs to this genus. Though similar to Erythemis, they are smaller and have a striped thorax. The larvae’s undersides are bright green.
  • Pantala – dragonflies of this gees have large, triangular hind wings. Both sets of wings – forewings and hindwings – are large in proportion to their bodies. They are normally colored orange to brown. They can travel long distances and can store fat in their abdomens in order to sustain them throughout their migrations.
  • Sympetrum – except for the black meadowhawk, dragonflies belonging to this genus are generally colord red. They are small and have slender abdomens.
  • Tramea – these dragonflies have large, triangular hind wings, which are long in relation to their bodies. They are commonly called saddlebags because they have markings on their bases which resemble saddlebags.

Darners are among the largest types of dragonflies that can be found, ranging between 2.5 – 5 inches in length. Their thorax is robust, and have large compound eyes which cover most of the head. They normally have long and slender abdomens patterned with blue, green, or yellow. They can usually be seen in swarms during late summer. They are strong and fast fliers, capable of reaching great heights. Because they have a highly developed nervous system, they actually can control their body temperature to a degree. This allows them to fly in colder temperatures compared to other dragonflies.


Petaltails are shaped like Darners. However, unlike Darners, their eyes are separated and have long and narrow stignas. They are believed to have existed for more than three hundred million years, making them the oldest of all flying insects.


Clubtails have wider abdominal segments 7-9, hence their name. However, not all clubtails possess this quality, while some non-clubtails do. They range in size from 1.5 to more than 3 inches long, and have widely separated eyes which are normally either green or blue. Their thorax and abdomen have a distinct yellow, gray or green pattern. Males and females are similar in coloration, but females usually have a stockier abdomen and more extensive yellow markings.

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