Like dragonflies, damselflies have two sets of wings. What sets them apart is that all four wings of the damselfly are identical in shape and are wider at the tip, they also taper inward where they connect to the body (think of a teardrop shape). The most obvious factor of identification is to look for wings that are parallel to the body when at rest.
Families Present in the Missourian Region:
- Broad-winged Damsel Family Calopterygidae
- Spreadwing Family Lestidae
- Pond Damsel Family Coenagrionidae
Odonates usually mate on, or near water, but many species also practice mating away from water and later go there to lay eggs. The site of where mating occurs is known as the rendezvous. In most cases, the male grabs the female with his legs and attempts to clasp her with his terminal appendix, and is able to retain his grip on the front portion of the female’s thorax, using claspers located at the tip of his abdomen. After the female is firmly clasped, the male will then take a moment to transfer sperm from the genital opening under his ninth segment to an organ of sperm storage, the seminal vesicle. He will then attempt to swing her abdomen forward to contact those genital with the tip of her abdomen. If the connection fits, the penis transfers sperm through the female’s genital pore into her vagina. Fertilization may take place immediately, or sometimes the female would store the sperm for future usage. During the act of mating, the male supports them both on a perch; some species copulate in flight. The mating position of odonates is unique and looks like a heart or wheel.
Here’s a video if you want to find out more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZCDTMN2P1w
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damsellflies of the East. Princeton University Press 2011.
Bartlett, Troy. “Suborder Zygoptera – Damselflies.” Species Bombus Auricomus – Black-and-Gold Bumble Bee – BugGuide.Net, 29 Dec. 2014.
“Biology & Ecology.” British-Dragonflies.org.uk.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Damselfly.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 June 2009.
Hadley, Debbie. “How Do You Tell the Difference Between Dragonflies and Damselflies?” Thoughtco., Dotdash, 20 Apr. 2018.
Sabet-Peyman, Jason Sabet-Peyman. “Introduction to the Odonata.” Introduction to the Aquifoliaceae, 16 July 2000.
Sells, Lisa. “Zen Through a Lens.” Zen Through a Lens, Blogger, 5 Aug. 2012.
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