A dragonfly falls under the order Odonata. This insect can easily be distinguished by its large, complex eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings and a drawn out body. Dragonflies main habitat are lakes, ponds, streams and other wetlands. They usually feed on small insects such as: mosquitoes, bees, flies, ants and butterfly. Adult dragonflies held their wings away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest.
Female dragonfly lays eggs in or near water and 90% of its life span is spent beneath the water’s surface in the “nymph” form. There are at least 5500 known species of dragonfly in the world. Below are some of the common species of Northern Hemisphere dragonfly.
The Emperor Dragonfly
The Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) is a common British dragonfly that owns the largest wingspan. Its wingspan can grow up to 10.5 cm while its body length can reach up to 8 cm. Emperor dragonfly is a strong insect and will always defend its territory. Most likely one can see Emperor dragonfly hovering over water bodies that include rivers, big ponds and canals looking for a meal. Male appears a striking turquoise blue, with green thorax and black stripes decorate its abdomen while the female has a lighter green shade.
The Widow Skimmer
The Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is a popular species that finds its habitat at lakes and ponds across the United States. Female Widow Skimmer shows large dark wing spots along its lower wings and its wing tips are marked with smaller dark spots while males have white spots on its abdomen and white wing spots between the dark wing spots.
The Migrant Hawker
The Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) is a large species that can measure up to 60 mm long. They can be found in North Africa, Southern and Central Europe to the Baltic region. Male Migrant Hawker’s elongated body can have a turquoise blue, green and brown coloring. The species prefers still or slow-flowing water.
The Norfolk Hawker
The Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles) is an extremely rare species of dragonfly in Great Britain. A distinct identification mark of this dragonfly is its yellow triangular mark on the second abdominal segment. Another familiar mark is its green eyes and translucent wings. A common Mediterranean species, Norfolk Hawkers are found in North Africa Southern Europe. Its habitat must include unspoiled grazing marsh dikes, clean freshwater and plenty of aquatic plants.
The Common Darter
The Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) is a common species found in Europe and can live in different types of water bodies. All Common Darter’s legs have a cream or yellow stripe on a black background. Females have light yellow thorax and abdomen and turns to a dark chocolate brown as it grow older. Males exhibit a reddish color as they mature.
The Great Pondhawk
The Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa) is found in still water habitats along the southern border areas and in the central parts of the United States. Males and females Great Pondhawk look similar but males own a much darker markings on the abdomen between the green markings. Also, males have a bright lime green thorax.
The Common Whitetail
The Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia) is a common species across much of North America has an unusual appearance. The males sport a checkered look having white bodies and translucent wings having brownish-black bands. Females have a brown body and a different pattern of wing spots. Whitetail females can be distinguished by their smaller size, shorter bodies, and white zigzag abdominal stripes.
The Banded Pennant
The Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata) is a common species found mostly in North America. They own an extensive, sharply defined black markings on its wings. Banded Pennant is a small dragonfly that may grow up to 1 1/2 inches. Its habitat includes ponds, lakes and sand bottom lakes ditches.
The Green Darner
The Green Darner (Anax junius) is one of the largest dragonflies, with males growing up to 75 millimeters and female up to 68 millimeters in length. The distinct identification marks are its green thorax region and a reddish-brown coloration centrally in the abdominal region. Both male and female exhibit light blue abdominal coloration dorsally. Green Darner is mostly found in the northernmost part of the United States (Alaska) and south to Panama. This species prefers still or very slow-moving fresh water, with lots of aquatic vegetation, and can only flourish where there are no predatory fish.
The Broad-bodied Chaser
The Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) is mainly found in Wales and Southern England that could have a 70 millimeters wingspan. They live in near still-water lakes and ponds, hunting for small insects. The female has a brown abdomen with two yellow stripes. The male has a pale blue abdomen. Both the male and female broad-bodied chasers have dark brown, triangular patches at the base of all four wings.