Insect Facts Damselflies

The adult damselflies can be mistaken as dragonflies but if you look closely there are many differences. Damselflies can close their wings parallel and over their back. They also have a body small in length with finer features compared to dragonflies. They are seen more often than the dragonflies.

The damselfly has four wings which fold over the back. The more common male damselfly is usually blue and the female is more of a grayish black color. The eyes of this insect are very noticeable but unlike the dragonfly, the eyes are separated. The tail is feathery gills at the end of the stomach area.

Their lifecycle usually last one year although some of the species can last two years. The damselflies mate while attached to weeds or on shorelines. The female then climbs down farther down into the weeds and into the water to lay the eggs. Once her eggs have been laid, she crawls back to the top and mate again. When the eggs hatch they are not in a larva stage but rather nymphs, which means they are a smaller identical insect to their parent.

The nymph goes through about 12 stages or molts before developing into a mature adult. While in the nymph stage they feed by laying in wait for aquatic bugs to get close and then they capture them with a lower jaw or (labium). When the time has come to emerge, the lymph swims towards the land to climb on the weeds or plants. While attached to the weed, the skin will break lose along the wing area. The first thing the new damselfly does is to push or pump body fluids to its stomach and wings. The new form will lengthen to resemble the other adults of its kind. The damselfly is about one inch long when it emerges as an adult. The nymphs not yet in the ready form will migrate in the fall to deeper waters where it will actually hibernate till the following spring and the process starts again.

The movement of the Damselfly is usually limited. Common movements of the damselfly is crawling or swimming. Its movements are not in a quick fast manner but a steady movement and at times you will see them pause or take a rest especially when swimming. They swim but moving the tail back and forth.

After hatching they tend to stay among the shallow water where they can feed easily. They can be found in water as deep as 35 feet but it is not as common. They can also be found in running water but the majority of them like the ponds and lake areas.

The damselflies are not dangerous they are quite harmless. They do not bite or sting and very much needed as they help keep the population down in the insect areas. They can prey on each other as does the dragonfly.