This page contains pictures and information about Damselflies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
- Damselflies are usually smaller than Dragonflies and with slender body.
Their eyes are well separated on each side of the head. Their wings are
narrow at the base. Hind wings are similar shape to the forewings. The
damselfly larvae have three or occasionally two caudal gills (tails) for breathing
- The insect Order Odonata includes
damselflies (this suborder Zygoptera) and
dragonflies (suborder Anisoptera).
They are medium to large size, body
length from 15mm to 120mm. Their bodies are long and slender, usually with bright
colours. All of them have two pairs of membranous wings. Their
hind wings and forewings are more or less similar size and shape. They have very small antennae but
very large compound eyes. They have the small three eyes (ocelli) as well.
Their mouths are very good at biting (they don't bite or sting human).
- Damselfly larvae 20mm
- Damselflies lay eggs in flash
water where the larvae grow. Larvae need fairly precise habitat and
sensitive to water pollution. Damselfly adult is a predator in the sky and
preying on flying insects. Larva may spend years in water, depend
on species, while adults live only a few weeks.
are further divided into families. Followings listed the
damselflies species that we found so far.
- Family Diphlebiidae
- Azure Damselflies
- The Azure Damselflies are all in bright blue colour. This Damselfly family
found only in Australia and New Guinea. They are large, thick body and rest
with wings spread. Their wings usually have the large dark brown pattern. We
found only one species in
Brisbane area, the Rockmaster Damselflies, are large, thick body and rest
with wings spread so you may think that they are the dragonflies.
- Family Synlestidae - Needles and Whitetips
- Family Lestidae
- The damselfly in this family has narrow wings and slender body, rests with
wings closed. We found only one species of this family in Brisbane. We found
them in early summer on the hill top of White Hill in Brisbane where was quite
far away from any water. The female damselfly was camouflaged as part of the
tip of the stem.
- The Megapodagrionidae, or the Flatwings, is another damselflies family
which can easily be found in Brisbane area. As their common name implies, when
at rest, they spread their wings flat. They are usually metallic in colour,
either green, blue or bronze. Females
oviposit in tandem with males above the surface of the water and eggs are
usually placed in plants.
- Family Protoneuridae
- Threadtail Damselflies
- The Threadtail Damselflies are small in size, their abdomen are
pin-thin. Their wings are usually clean. We found only one species in
Brisbane area. However, they can easily be found near semi-shaded running
water. They usually rest in group on the plants at the water edges. They can
still be be seen even in winter time. In summer, large number of them can
easily be found.
- Coenagrionidae is the most abundant damselfly in Brisbane area. They are
usually with black pattern, the ground colour may be green, blue, yellow,
orange, or purple. Some species are two female colour forms, one of which is
similar to the male. Their wings are usually colourless and clear. They prefer
to lay eggs in pond or slow running water. Usually they are small and
- More about Dragonflies and Damselflies........................
- 1. Insects of
Australia - CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991,
- 2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926,
- 3. The Australian Dragonflies - CSIRO, Watson, Theisinger &
- 4. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of South East Queensland - Ric
- 5. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia - CSIRO, GŁnther Theischinger and John Hawking,
- 6. Field Guide to Dragonflies of Hong Kong - Keith DP Wilson, Cosmos Books, 2003.
- 7. Northern
Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
Back to Top
[ Damselfly Wings ] [ DIPHLEBIIDAE ] [ SYNLESTIDAE ] [ LESTIDAE ] [ MEGAPODAGRIONIDAE ] [ PROTONEURIDAE ] [ COENAGRIONIDAE ]