Dragonfly Vs Damselfly: Amaze-wing Insects Difference Facts Explained!

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 25, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Nov 16, 2021
Hairy dragonfly resting on vegetation.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

Dragonflies and damselflies are species of insects that have been around for more than a period of 300 million years!

Today, the number of dragonflies that are found in the world is slightly more than the number of damselflies. Although these two insects are distant cousins and may look similar in appearance, they are quite distinct from one another as both these insects have a different way of flying.

Nonetheless, there are not many differences between the two!

The dragonfly and the damselfly, with their transparent wings, were believed to have both come from the order Odonata and to have carried a symbolic indication through centuries.

Even though they fall in the same order, their suborder is different as dragonflies come under the Anisoptera group. Dragonflies and damselflies are considered by many insect experts to be aquatic insects as they spend a majority of their time on the water surface, eating mosquitos or breeding.

They are quite common across these water areas, especially around the summer. The adult insects of these species are very much immune to predators like ducks, frogs, newts, salamanders, and other large amphibians.

Both these insects also have a set of wings, a pair of large eyes on their head, and similar bodies as well as young nymphs too but if you look closely, you can tell the difference between these similarities for sure!

Between dragonflies and damselflies, dragonflies tend to have a body that is much larger and bigger particularly the abdomen area, than damselflies while the body of a damselfly resembles the thinnest of twigs! There is also a difference in the way the damselfly and the dragonfly hold their wings.

Dragonflies tend to hold out their wings out in a more perpendicular manner when at rest, looking like the wings of an airplane.

When they are no longer in flight, the wings of a dragonfly will stick out straight. On the other hand, damselflies will often fold their wings and hold them up together on the top parts of their body.

The pair of wings present in the body of damselflies are the same or in other words symmetrical tapering, or narrowing down as they meet their bodies.

In dragonflies, the hind wings are broader at the base, making them larger than their front wings. This very subtle difference can however be noticed only when the two insects are at rest!

Dragonflies and damselflies both have very large eyes that take up most of the space on their head but the eyes of a dragonfly are much larger than those found in damselflies.

The gap found between the eyes of a damselfly is more. Dragonflies and damselflies are very helpful to humans because they are very good eaters of mosquitos!

If you enjoyed this article on dragonflies and damselflies, be sure to check out our golden ringed dragonfly facts for kids and eagle vs hawk facts that you are sure to love!

What is the difference between dragonfly and damselfly?

Although quite similar in appearance, dragonflies and damselflies have quite a lot of differences from each other. You can tell the difference between the two species in terms of their wing shape, the way they hold their wings to their bodies, the size of their bodies, and the eyes on their head.

First and foremost, dragonflies and damselflies both come under the ancient order Odonata but dragonflies fall into the Anisoptera suborder. The babies of both these species are called nymphs but if you look closely, you can tell the difference if it is a dragonfly nymph or a damselfly nymph!

Dragonfly nymphs have three short spines and gills that are held internally.

Damselfly nymphs have three gills that look like feathers extending from the tip of their abdomen.

The nymph doesn't have an eye-catching color as found in the adult. In an adult dragonfly or damselfly, there are other differences with the rest of their bodies that can make it easy for you to tell them apart but you have to watch closely or when they are at rest!

The wing pair present in damselflies tend to be of the same size and become tapered or narrowed when they meet the body. In dragonflies, the set of hind wings is different in shape from the front wings as they are slightly wider and bigger.

When in flight, their wings will stick out straight and will look perpendicular to the rest of their body.

The bodies of these two species of insect are also quite different.

Dragonflies have a bigger shape at the abdomen while damselflies are as thin as a twig! Dragonflies also have eyes that are a little larger than dragonflies, while dragonflies tend to have a small space between the eyes on their head.

Are dragonflies and damselflies related?

Both dragonflies and damselflies are similar coming from the Odonata order but the dragonfly species fall under the Anisoptera suborder.

They are considered to be cousins but many researchers are still trying to learn more about how they are related as there is insufficient data on their group. About 5,0oo dragonfly species exist today, a number that is slightly more than that of damselflies.

Both these insect species are known to make their habitats near water surfaces, breeding there too during the hot and warm days of summer. This is why many scientists claim them to be aquatic insects!

Blue dragonfly is sitting on the grass.

Is a damselfly a dragonfly?

A damselfly is not a dragonfly. They are both independent species that are related as they come from the same order but different suborders.

They share quite a few physical similarities but you can find many differences in these similarities too! In general, a dragonfly tends to be bigger in size compared to the damselfly and their group is also great at flying.

The wing set present in dragonflies sticks straight out but in damselflies, they lie folded along the top part of their back.

Do dragonflies eat damselflies?

Yes, it is very possible for both to eat each other if they are smaller in size compared to the other!

Dragonflies and damselflies will eat just about anything that they can carry and support on their wings. Therefore, their food needs to be smaller in size to their own body size! Their diet mostly consists of gnats, mosquitos, mayflies, swarming termites, and small dragonflies or damselflies!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Dragonfly vs damselfly: amaze-wing insects difference facts explained!

then why not take a look at Can rabbits eat tomatoes? Here's the truth to know for your pet rabbit, or Deer vs elk: curious animal difference facts revealed for kids!

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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