Minnesota Damselflies

 
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)

Odonata is the order of insects that is distinguished by a number of morphological features. Adults have minute antennae; extremely large eyes that fill most of the head; two pairs of transparent, membranous wings with many small veins; and a long slender abdomen. Nymphs (larval stage) have posterior tracheal gills and a prehensile labium (extendible jaws underneath the head). The order includes dragonflies and damselflies.

There are about 6,000 Odonata species in about 600 genera in 29 families worldwide, about 460 species in 92 genera in 12 families in North America north of Mexico.

Odonata Central lists 151 Odonata species in Minnesota.


Suborder Zygoptera (Damselflies)

The order Odonata is separated into two groups: Anisoptera/Anisozygoptera group (dragonflies); and the suborder Zygoptera (damselflies). Damselflies are similar to dragonflies but are smaller; the bodies are more slender; the heads are much wider than long (hammer-headed); the compound eyes are separated by at least the width of the eye; the forewings and hindwings are similar in size and shape and are held over the body or at a 45° angle when at rest; the flight is weak and fluttering; and they have a functional ovipositor.

There are about 2,942 still surviving (extant) damselfly species in 309 genera in 27 families worldwide. In North America north of Mexico there are 136 species in 22 genera in 5 families. In the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) there are 46 species in 3 families. Odonata Central lists 42 damselfly species in Minnesota.


ebony jewelwing

 

 

           

Recent Additions

 
Powdered dancer
   

Powdered dancer (Argia moesta) is a common and widespread, medium to large sized damselfly. At 1½ to 1¾ it is the largest dancer damselfly and the largest narrow-winged or pond damselfly. It can be found from early June to early September on streams and rivers with emergent rocks and large lakes with rocky shores.

Unlike American bluet damselflies, dancer damselflies are easy to identify in the field by their colors and the pattern of their markings. Powdered dancer is distinguished by the whitish pruinescence on the male, a characteristic unique among Minnesota damselflies. The female is similar to the blue-fronted dancer but is larger and has a paler abdomen tip.

  powdered dancer

Ebony jewelwing
   

Ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) is a large, showy, broad-winged damselfly. It can be found from late May to early September near shallow, small to medium-sized, canopy covered forest streams and adjacent shaded areas. Adults live on average for 16 to 20 days. They are often noticed in large numbers but for only a short period and then sporadically or not at all until the next year.

Jewelwings in Minnesota are identified by the broad, partially or wholly black wings; and on the female the small white patch near the tip of each wing. This species is identified by the brilliant metallic green or blue body; the broader, wholly black wings that are 3 times as long as wide; and the wider white patch near the wing tip of the female.

  ebony jewelwing

Other Recent Additions
   

blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis)

  blue-fronted dancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           
Profile Photo Video      

     

alkali bluet (Enallagma clausum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blue-fronted dancer

 

 

 

 

 

ebony jewelwing

familiar bluet

 

marsh bluet

 

 

powdered dancer

     

amber-winged spreadwing (Lestes eurinus)

 
     

American rubyspot (Hetaerina americana)

 
     

aurora damsel (Chromagrion conditum)

 
     

azure bluet (Enallagma aspersum)

 
  Photo Photo

blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis)

 
     

blue-tipped dancer (Argia tibialis)

 
     

boreal bluet (Enallagma boreale)

 
     

citrine forktail (Ischnura hastata)

 
     

common spreadwing (Lestes disjunctus)

 
     

eastern forktail (Ischnura verticalis)

 
     

eastern red damsel (Amphiagrion saucium)

 
Profile Photo Photo

ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)

 
     

elegant spreadwing (Lestes inaequalis)

 
     

emerald spreadwing (Lestes dryas)

 
  Photo Photo

familiar bluet (Enallagma civile)

 
     

fragile forktail (Ischnura posita)

 
     

Hagen’s bluet (Enallagma hageni)

 
     

lyre-tipped spreadwing (Lestes unguiculatus)

 
  Photo Photo

marsh bluet (Enallagma ebrium)

 
     

northern bluet (Enallagma annexum)

 
     

northern spreadwing (Lestes disjunctus)

 
     

orange bluet (Enallagma signatum)

 
Profile Photo Photo

powdered dancer (Argia moesta)

 
     

rainbow bluet (Enallagma antennatum)

 
     

river bluet (Enallagma anna)

 
     

river jewelwing (Calopteryx aequabilis)

 
     

sedge sprite (Nehalennia irene)

 
     

skimming bluet (Enallagma geminatum)

 
     

slender spreadwing (Lestes rectangularis)

 
     

southern spreadwing (Lestes australis)

 
     

sphagnum sprite (Nehalennia gracilis)

 
     

spotted spreadwing (Lestes congener)

 
     

stream bluet (Enallagma exsulans)

 
     

subarctic bluet (Coenagrion interrogatum)

 
     

swamp spreadwing (Lestes vigilax)

 
     

sweetflag spreadwing (Lestes forcipatus)

 
     

taiga bluet (Coenagrion resolutum)

 
     

tule bluet (Enallagma carunculatum)

 
     

vesper bluet (Enallagma vesperum)

 
     

violet dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea)

 
         

           

 

 

No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for an insect in the list at left, or the insect does not appear in the list, you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that insect. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the insect in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that insect featuring your contribution.

 

Capitalization of Common Names

Insect scientific names are governed by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). Vernacular (common) names are not. In an attempt to “assure the uniformity of (common) names of common insects” the Entomological Society of America (ESA) published Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms. ESA has no rule or guideline that addresses capitalization of common names. However, the database of common names published by ESA does not capitalize common names. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) also uses uncapitalized common names. Most other sources, including ITIS, BAMONA, Odonata Central, and the Peterson Field Guides, capitalize common insect names. MinnesotaSeasons.com will adhere to the convention followed by ESA and NCBI.

 

 

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