Division of Entomology

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Order Odonata

Dragonfly Page|Damselfly Page|Home Page

Suborder Anisoptera

Aeshnidae Family
Gomphidae Family
Macromiidae Family
Corduliidae Family
Libellulidae Family

Suborder Zygoptera

Broad-winged Damsels
Calopterygidae Family
Spreadwing Damsels
Lestidae Family
Pond Damsels
Coenagrionidae Family

Links to Other Sites:

Dragonflies and damselflies are a silent but omnipresent part of the Nebraska summer landscape, especially around ponds and streams. Recently there has been a huge surge of interest in these winged insects, which captivate watchers with their beautiful colors and astonishing flying skills. They do not sting, their bite is very mild and they consume vast numbers of pest insects, such as mosquitoes. Their ability to capture flying prey on the wing and to avoid predation by birds is impressive to watch.

Jade & Skimming
Jade Clubtail and Skimming Bluet
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant female

There are about 100 species of dragonflies and damselflies that can be found in Nebraska. Dragonflies are generally larger and more robust than damselflies, and they hold their wings open flat. They are strong flyers and can both hover and fly backwards. Dragonflies have eyes which are large and, in most families, close together. The hindwings of a dragonfly are wider at the base than the forewings. Nebraska dragonflies are grouped into the following families: Darners, Clubtails, Cruisers, Emeralds and Skimmers.

Damselflies are much more delicate than most dragonflies and are often found "grazing" on vegetation rather than taking prey on the wing. They are weak flyers that stay close to the ground or surface of the water. In contrast to dragonflies, damselflies (except for the Spreadwing family) hold their wings folded together over their backs. Nebraska damselflies are grouped into the following families: Broad-winged Damsels, Spreadwings, and Pond Damsels.

Azure Bluet
Azure Bluet male

The database represented by the county records shown on the maps on this site is the work of Fred Sibley,
who personally collected (or identified in collections) the bulk of the records.

I would like to thank Jim Bangma, Giff Beaton, Doug Danforth, Jim Durbin, Tim Hajda, Terry Hibbitts,
Ann Johnson, Nate Kohler, Loren and Babs Padelford, and Brian Peterson for the use of their photographs.

Thanks also to Ann Johnson for advice and encouragement, both in website development and in location and identification of odonates.

Also thanks to Loren and Babs Padelford for getting this whole thing started when they introduced me and my husband Don to the study of odonates.

This site was designed and developed by Janis Paseka. Last updated February 2016.

To report a new county record or comment on this site:

To submit a photo for acceptance as a county record, send it to:

Citation: Paseka, J. M. 2016. Nebraska dragonflies and damselflies. URL

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