Collectively, dragonflies and damselflies belong to the group (or Order) of insects known as Odonata, divided into two distinct groups or sub-orders; Anisoptera (true dragonflies) and Zygoptera (damselflies).

Key information about damselflies:

  • Typically, damselflies are smaller and daintier than dragonflies and have a weaker, more fluttering flight.
  • Damselflies have small eyes that are separated on either side of the head.
  • Damselflies have similarly sized pairs of wings – Zygoptera means ‘equal wings’.
  • Though not an infallible rule, damselflies tend to rest with their wings closed.
Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puella Female, Marston Thrift
A typical damselfly, the Azure Damselfly – Coenagrion puella


10 species of damselfly may be found in Bedfordshire: