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Odonata - Dragonflies, Damselflies



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Arthropoda
 Subphylum: Hexapoda
 Class: Insecta
 Order: Odonata

Calico Pennant DragonflyThere are over 6,000 species in this order. They are found near fresh water habitats around the world. There are around 400 species in North America.

Many species are brightly colored and patterned. The larvae in this order are also carnivores. They live in the water and eat a variety of aquatic insects and small crustaceans and mollusks. When they are ready to become adults, they climb out of the water on the stalks of submerged aquatic plants. Adult dragonflies and damselflies usually live for no more than three or four months, but the larvae can live for six months to a few years before becoming adults.

Calico Pennant Dragonfly

Dragonflies and damselflies are carnivores and eat insects like gnats and mosquitoes. In fact, the name Odonata is Greek and means tooth. Many species in this order have strong teeth. They have large heads; long, segmented abdomens; and two pairs of lacy wings. They have long legs that they use to hold their prey or to cling to branches and other plant parts. They are often seen clinging to car antennas.




Selected Families

  Aeshnidae (Darners)
  Calopterygidae (Broad-winged Damselflies)
  Coenagrionidae (Pond Damsels)
  Cordulegastridae (Spiketails)
  Corduliidae (Green Eyed Skimmers)
  Gomphidae (Clubtails)

  Lestidae (Spread-winged Damselflies)
  Libellulidae (Common Skimmers)
  Macromiidae (River Cruisers)
  Petaluridae (Petaltails)
  Platystictidae (Shadowdamsels)