Dragonflies have long stout bodies with 2 pair of transparent wings. Damselflies have thinner bodies & many species have metallic colourations. Both dragonfilies and damselflies sport large coloured eyes.Â
Dragonfly (left)-Mark Simmons, Damselfly (right)-M. Reeder
Their wingspan is almost as long as their bodies. They range in colour and sizes. There are thousands of species found worldwide. Nymphs are usually brown and measure half the size of the adult. These are beneficial insects welcome in and around every garden.
Damselfly lifecycle (left)-Australia Museum, Damselflies mating (right)- Dennis R. Paulson
Habitat and Lifecycle
Adults mate in late spring or early summer & then lay their eggs in pools of water. Males will protect the female while she lays her eggs. Nymphs hatch after about one week and feed to maturity over the winter. The nymphs emerge in spring and climb up plants or trees and shed thier skin eventually becoming an adult. Some nymphs remain in the water for up to 3 years. Adults live at the edges of ponds, slow moving rivers and lakeshores.
Dragonfly Nymph hatching-Dennis R. Paulson
They eat mosquito larvae (YAY!), aquatic larvae, small fish & most insects. They can also fall prey to fish, birds, toads, frogs and snakes.
Tips for attracting them
Make your own pond
Dragonflies will find a pond if you make on near your garden. They are relatively easy to make and inexpensive. There are kits available in all nurserys and garden shops. Fill the pond with lake or stream water and line with rocks, gravel and sand. Transplant native underwater plants into the pond. Feed them mosquito larvae and other insect you can find in the lakes, rivers & streams. Plant wildflowers & small trees near the pond to keep them interested.