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11 Types of Dragonflies (with Pictures)

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Here is a list of the dragonflies you may see on next outdoor activity:

Clubtail Dragonfly

Clubtail dragonflies are from the family of Gomphidae and are easily found around water bodies in the region of North America. There are approximately about 100 species of clubtail dragonflies.

Though all the members of this species have unique characteristics, most of them have club-shaped tails in common. Sometimes they’re called blade tail dragonflies.

It is said that this club-like quality at the end of the core is more pronounced in the male Dragonfly species than that of the female Dragonfly and may even be absolutely absent in some species.

Spiketail Dragonfly

Spiketails is the most known name for dragonflies that relate to the Cordulegastridae family. Being only eight or nine species in the single genus, spiketails are one of the lowest populous in the group of dragonflies, at least in the United States of America.

These dragonflies have elongated bodies and are usually significant. They have a brown or black core that has a unique bright yellow pattern.

These are energetic dragonflies that are mostly seen flying about and rarely ever perching like the skimmers. Many of these spiketail dragonflies can be seen in wooded areas near the Rocky Mountains.

Emerald Dragonfly

Emerald dragonflies, or in other words emeralds, belong to the Corduliidae family. They derive their primary name from their striking emerald green eyes and are generally found in most regions of the United States.

Having said that, different species of emerald dragonfly may be found in other parts of the country.

Though the practice of taxonomy among dragonflies is ongoing, fifty at least native Corduliidae species have been recognized, divided into six distinguish genera.

Of these, the American emerald is the only species that is native to North America. These dragonflies are primarily found in lakes and near forested areas.

Depending on the region, they can also fly from early spring into the latter half of the summer.

Petaltail Dragonfly

Petaltail dragonflies get their name derived from the shape of their tails, which are long and upright like petals.

These dragonflies are from the Petaluridae family, the most primitive among dragonflies (approximately one hundred and fifty million years old).

There are eleven documented species of this family recorded globally, the largest in Australia.

The curious thing about petal tails is that they can be found around fens when they grow up, unlike most other dragonfly types in water habitats. Perhaps as a consequence of this, these dragonflies take longer than that most mature into adults.

Hawker Dragonfly

Hawker is a familiar and most commonly known name for this kind of Dragonfly. It belongs to the family Aeshnidae. The genera in this family are also known to be the fastest flying dragonflies.

These dragonflies can usually be found in North America and are believed to be the most extensive dragonfly types in the world.

There are several exciting facts about hawkers, including but not limited to the fact that they mate mid-flight and then lay eggs anywhere nearby, preferably in the water.

This is also evident that female hawkers can fake death to keep themselves away from the advances of a male hawker they don’t consider suitable for mating.

Tigertail Dragonfly

Tigertailz is the primary name for dragonflies that belong to the Sythemistidae family. The family has about forty-three species, of which Tigertailz are a prominent variety.

Tigertailz looks pretty similar to species in the corduliidae and gomphidae families of dragonflies. These are small dragonflies with the slender abdomen.

Tigertailz is one of the oldest species of dragonflies and is most easily found in Australia and New Guinea.

They like to be in the surrounding lakes, small streams, ponds, or other water bodies with slow-motion water. The name they have is due to the combination of yellow and black stripes on their tail.

Saddlebag Dragonfly

Saddlebags are a species of dragonflies usually found in Canada, the United States, and the south of Mexico.

These dragonflies are also from the Libellulidae family. They are also called black saddlebags; these dragonflies like to be around slow-moving aquatic bodies that don’t have fish and particularly around a lot of vegetation.

This kind of Dragonfly migrates, frequenting the North in the spring and moving towards the Atlantic coast in the fall.

An exciting fact about saddlebags is that they are also popular as dancing gliders because they form a couple and lay eggs through a mating dance. They are beneficial to control a growing mosquito population.

Darner Dragonfly

Same as hawkers, darners also belong to the Aeshnidae family. They have an amazing black body with unique blue spots.

They can usually be found in the United States, particularly around water bodies like lakes, ponds, and streams.

There are multiple varieties of darners, and though they have several different features, they share several things in common, categorizing them into the same family.

Though most male Dragonflies in the species have bright blue dots on their abdomen or thorax, the female Dragonflies have spots in hues of green or yellow.

As other species of dragonflies contain thoracic stripes, darners do not have thoracic stripes on the top or the bottom, which is another distinguish identification that sets them apart.

River Cruiser Dragonfly

River cruisers, as the name gives the idea, as the name derived their name from their unique trait of cruising long distances, mostly along river banks and roads.

Although they are commonly known as cruisers, the family name of these cruisers, where they belong to is Macromiidae.

These are enormous kinds of dragonflies that typically have a long and slender body with unique yellow stripes. But the one characteristic that sets river cruisers aside from other species is their bright green eyes. These species are conveniently found in North America.

Skimmer Dragonfly

Skimmers are usually found in North America and are an umbrella category with approximately one hundred and five species belonging to the Libellulidae family of dragonflies.

The Libellulidae family is the most prominent dragonfly family in North America, among which skimmers occupy a large chunk of the population.

Another name for skimmers is perchers. They are so-called as they like to perch on crops and vegetation that are exposed to the sun.

There are at least twenty-six different genera under the more significant subgroup of skimmers, which can often make it challenging to classify them.

Spreadwing Damselfly

While damselflies are not precisely the same as dragonflies, both fall in the similar scientific category of Odonata, which denotes flying insects.

Spreadwing damselflies get their name because they keep their wings spread even when resting, which is usually not the case for damselflies.

In North America alone, there are twenty species of spreading damselfly species. Spreadwing damselflies, like several other damselflies in their family, like to be around stagnant or slow-moving water bodies.

They used to perch on crops and vegetation, mainly in search of food. This is also the most favorable time to catch sight of them as they make themselves visible in the sun.

Broadwing Damselfly

Broadwing damselflies are related to the family of Calopterygidae. The two species belonging to the North American genera are also famous for their massive sizes and lively colors.

River jewelwing is a highly prominent species in the whole broadwing damselflies family due to its distinctly broad wings.

These are large size damselflies, typically the largest in any region. They have bright and flashy coverings, mainly with shades of metallic green or blue.

They also have enormous, spotted wings that give them their unique look. While dragonflies used to be larger than damselflies, the River Jewelwing can be as large as a dragonfly.


During one of my leisurely walks along the serene banks of a babbling stream near my home, I had an encounter that left me entranced. It was a warm afternoon, the sun filtering through the canopy of leaves overhead, creating a dappled dance of light and shadow on the water’s surface. The stream was about 7 feet across, its gentle currents whispering secrets as they flowed over smooth pebbles and around the bends.

As I strolled, I noticed a flash of iridescent color that caught my eye. I paused, leaning against a gnarled oak tree whose roots drank deeply from the stream’s edge. There, hovering above the water, was a dragonfly. It was a remarkable creature, its wingspan no more than 3 inches across, yet it commanded my full attention.

The dragonfly’s wings were a marvel of nature’s engineering, delicate and gossamer, yet they beat with such power and precision that the insect could dart and hover with effortless grace. Its body was a brilliant blue, reminiscent of the sky on a clear summer day, segmented and sleek, tapering to a fine point.

I watched, utterly captivated, as the dragonfly dipped and soared, occasionally touching the surface of the stream with the tips of its legs, sending ripples cascading outward. The sunlight caught on its wings, turning them into stained glass windows with a spectrum of colors that seemed too vivid to be real.

I couldn’t help but marvel at the simplicity and complexity of this moment, the dragonfly’s dance a perfect embodiment of the delicate balance of the ecosystem around the stream. I felt a sense of connection to this tiny creature and its world, a reminder of the beauty and wonder that often goes unnoticed in our busy lives.

Eventually, the dragonfly zipped away, its aerial acrobatics taking it beyond my sight. I was left with a feeling of gratitude for having witnessed such a simple yet profound spectacle. The dragonfly by the stream was a gentle nudge to always keep my eyes open to the magic in the natural world, and to appreciate the fleeting moments that can bring unexpected joy and awe.


Benefits of Dragonfly

Balancing of Marine Ecosystem by Nymph

Since Dragonfly eggs are laid and hatched in or near the water, their lives impact water and land ecosystems. Once hatched, dragonfly nymphs can breathe underwater, and they use a motion similar to jet propulsion to move within their environment. This makes them capable of eating harmful aquatic organisms such as mosquito larvae. The nymph will continue providing benefits to this ecosystem for one to five years until it becomes a mature adult Dragonfly.

Adult Dragonfly’s vision is everything.

The adult dragonfly has bulged compound eyes that are pretty useful in searching for flying insects. Their sharp eyes can even notice the tiniest insect crawling on the plants in the garden. If one has a heavy population of bugs and insects in the garden, one can surely experience a decrease after the presence of Dragonflies in a week or so. Dragonflies play ecological roles as predators and prey to birds, frogs, and other creatures.

Ecological Indicators

Researchers also look to dragonflies as an ecological indicator. The presence of dragonflies indicates freshwater. One of the most helpful dragonflies is that they reside low in the food chain, so the scientific study of their numbers and their health can reveal any fluctuations in marine ecosystems more promptly than studying other animals or plants. Numerous national parks are beginning to use this species to survey and document the health of the park’s water ecosystems.

Enemy to the harmful bugs in the garden

Since dragonflies can consume mosquitoes and other insects, hence they assist gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. This also helps the environment, allowing humans to reduce the use of pesticides to kill these insects. Dragonflies can also reduce the spread of diseases by mosquitoes, deer flies, and horseflies by releasing dragonflies in the affected areas where infestations of these insects exist. These insects spread diseases like malaria, yellow fever, anthrax, dog heartworms, and tularemia. However, dragonflies are voracious and indiscriminate eaters, so they might eat other species that are beneficial for them.

Despite their fearsome outlook, dragonflies do not sting, and they are entirely harmless to humans. Moreover, these insects that come in many mesmerizing colors – copper, emerald, amethyst, sapphire, and others – that exhibit charming visual appeal for ponds, streams, and other freshwater bodies.

Where are the Dragonflies going in U.S and Canada?

Two different varieties of Green Darners live in Canada and the U.S. The RESIDENT population of Dragonflies does not typically migrate. But for reproduction purposes, they go to the North to breed over the summer and lay their eggs in the northern aquatic system.

The newbies, or nymphs, spend the winter in that cold water beneath the thick layer of ice. In spring, they appear from the ponds, rivers, and lakes to spend the summer as adults.

The other population of Green Darners is MIGRATORY. They arrive from southern regions every year in the spring season to breed in the North. Their young emerge in the late summer of a similar year and migrate south during August and September. Interestingly, the migratory population alternates generations between breeding in the North and breeding in the south. Still, both groups of this population get to spend most of the summer in the land of mosquitoes and maximize the number of newborns they produce.


Fun Facts about Dragonfly

  • Many of us humans believe that these old insects will come stinging you with that tail of its. But generally, dragonflies don’t go stinging or biting people around.
  • They are pretty ancient insects. They have been regarded as to be on this Earth for some 300 million years.
  • The primitive dragonflies are said to be much larger than the existing ones. The prehistoric dragonflies are reported to have a wingspan of 2 1/2 feet! That’s way more than the wingspan of a modern-day dragonfly. i.e., only two to five inches range.
  • These garden insects are short-lived. Apart from the year they spend underwater; dragonflies only stay around for just a month.
  • People in Indonesia like to eat them as a treat. Having a dragonfly sitting on your head is believed to be a symbol of good luck.
  • They are not connected to ordinary flies.
  • Like bird watching, watching dragonflies is known as oding. It is so named because of the order classification of dragonflies, Odonata.
  • The animals that hunt dragonflies include birds, water beetles, ducks, and fish.
  • Dragonflies require warming up under the sun during the morning before their departure and then flying for the rest of the day.
  • More than 5,000 recognized dragonflies (along with damselflies) are a part of the order Odonata, which means “toothed one” in Greek and indicates the Dragonfly’s serrated teeth.
  • Dragonflies are proficient fliers. Dragonflies can fly up and down straight, mate mid-air, and hover above the ground like a helicopter. If they cannot fly for some reason, they’ll starve to death because Dragonflies only feed upon the prey they catch while flying.
  • Dragonflies hunt their insect prey by grasping it with their tiny feet. Since they’re pretty skilled in their hunting, the dragonflies were recorded to grab up to 90 – 95 percent of the prey released into their enclosure during a study conducted by Harvard University.
  • The flight of the Dragonfly is exceptional as it has even inspired engineers who plan to design robots that move like dragonflies.
  • Some adult dragonflies have a lifetime of a few weeks, while others can stay alive up to a year.
  • almost all of the Dragonfly’s head is their eye, so they possess a fantastic vision that comprises of nearly every single angle except for seeing what’s right behind
  • Dragonflies, which feed upon insects as adults, are a great way to control the immense mosquito population. A single dragonfly is recorded to eat thirty to hundreds of mosquitoes each day.
  • Hundreds of dragonflies of distinct species will gather up in swarms, either for feeding or migration. Little information is available regarding this behavior, but the Dragonfly Swarm Project is collecting reports on hives to understand this behavior better.
  • A dragonfly is skilled at taking flight at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour.
  • The three primary stages in a dragonfly’s life cycle include the egg, the nymph or larva, and the adult dragonfly. Dragonflies are known to lay eggs in water. Upon hatching, the larva or nymph remains aquatic for two to five years: this varies from species to species.
  • Some people professionally hunt them with several techniques and strategies. Fried dragonflies are considered the most straightforward menus to cook them by just using some coconut oil. Dragonfly delicacies are famous not only in Indonesia but also in other countries of Asia.
  • As per some folklore, sighting swarms of dragonflies indicated that it was going to rain soon. For some other cultures, dragonflies symbolize good luck and prosperity – especially when they happen to land on one’s head. Now that is some interesting facts about the Dragonfly.
  • The wings of the Dragonfly give high stability with high load-bearing capabilities as it glides, hovers, and flies.
  • Their wings consist of membranes and veins with a complex design that offers excellent agility, versatility, and performing maneuverable fliers.
  • The blue Dragonfly, casually called the Blue Dasher, is a part of the dragonfly species related to the skimmer family. As primarily observed in the United States of America and the Bahamas, they typically grow from one to one point five inches on average.
  • When dragonflies strike their targets, they are virtually confident that they will grab them. one Dragonfly’s attack rate is 95%.
  • Apart from the verity that they can see ultraviolet light, dragonflies can see colors way more than humans. They are also proficient in detecting motion, and they can see all directions at the same time.
  • An average dragonfly can develop for about 2 inches long, but the Megaloprepus Caerulatus can increase in length to 7.5 inches across the wings with its body length of more than 4.7 inches. That is two times of a common dragonfly.