dragonflies gallery logo

  Home | Birds | Butterflies | Dragonflies | Fungi | Mammals | Reptiles |

Damselfly Species

Agriocnemis pygmaea
Argiocnemis rubescens
Austroagrion cyane
Austroagrion watsoni
Austroargiolestes calcaris
Austroargiolestes icteromelas
Austrocnemis splendida
Austrolestes analis
Austrolestes annulosus
Austrolestes aridus
Austrolestes cingulatus
Austrolestes io
Austrolestes leda
Austrolestes psyche
Coenagrion lyelli
Diphlebia lestoides
Diphlebia nymphoides
Griseargiolestes intermedius
Ischnura aurora
Ischnura heterosticta
Hemiphlebia mirabilis
Nososticta solida
Pseudagrion aureofrons
Pseudagrion ignifer
Pseudagrion microcephalum
Rhadinosticta simplex
Synlestes weyersii
Xanthagrion erythroneurum

Dragonfly Species

Adversaeschna brevistyla
Archaeosynthemis orientalis
Austroaeschna atrata
Austroaeschna flavomaculata
Austroaeschna inermis
Austroaeschna ingrid
Austroaeschna multipunctata
Austroaeschna parvistigma
Austroaeschna pulchra
Austroaeschna sigma
Austroaeschna subapicalis
Austroaeschna unicornis
Austrocordulia refracta
Austrogomphus amphiclitus
Austrogomphus australis
Austrogomphus cornutus
Austrogomphus guerini
Austrogomphus melaleucae
Austrogomphus ochraceus
Austropetalia tonyana
Austrothemis nigrescens
Cordulephya montana
Cordulephya pygmaea
Crocothemis nigrifrons
Dendroaeschna conspersa
Diplacodes bipunctata
Diplacodes haematodes
Diplacodes melanopsis
Eusynthemis brevistyla
Eusynthemis guttata
Eusynthemis virgula
Hemianax papuensis
Hemicordulia australiae
Hemicordulia tau
Hemigomphus gouldii
Hemigomphus heteroclytus
Nannophlebia risi
Nannophya australis
Nannophya dalei
Notoaeschna sagittata
Orthetrum caledonicum
Orthetrum villosovittatum
Parasynthemis regina
Procordulia jacksoniensis
Spinaeschna tripunctata
Synthemis eustalacta
Telephlebia brevicauda
Tramea loewii

I will be adding links to species' pages as I create them.

While I have endeavoured to provide accurate information, my research may not be up-to-date or I may have made some mistakes. If you find something of concern I'd be happy to hear from you. My contact information is here.

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Order : Odonata


Dragonflies are the predators of the insect world, hunting smaller insects in flight. Their larvae also feed on other insect larva. They belong to the order Odonata, which has two suborders in Australia: Anisoptera or Epiproctophora (dragonflies) and Zygoptera (damselflies).

Australia has 325 recognized species of dragonflies and damselflies, Victoria about 75 of those and I have seen and photographed about 60 species in Victoria and about 70 species in total.

Most of the life of these insects is spent as an aquatic nymph. In colder regions this larval stage tends to be longer than in warmer waters. Some large dragonflies are believed to live for over a decade before actually emerging.

This section of my site showcases some of my dragonfly and damselfly photography and might help some with their identification (particularly Victorian species).


Self portrait Dragonflies are not always easy to take photos of and usually I have to see them land somewhere. I then try to take a photo from the distance (to aid later identification in case it flies away) and slowly move closer, taking many bracketed photos. Sometimes the subject remains perched long enough to get some good close-ups. For the image on the right I was even able to make a hand-held self-portrait.

I don't capture any insects nor take photos of them in captivity — all the photos you see here are of them free in the wild (and, yes, sometimes they do land on me). I also avoid damaging living plants during these persuits.

For some images organized by species see down the left side. For more images (organized chronologically) see the links below. For the latest up-to-date images of my trips always visit all photos stored chronologically.
Dragonfly Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Damselfly Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
11 12 13 14


NEW: I have created an online key guide, which asks simple questions (such as coloration) to help inexperienced people or those with no good reference books identify (or at least short-list) what they see.

A common misconception is that to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly you merely need to look at the way they hold their wings when resting. Although this is true for many species, it is not unique to either group for Australian species.

Dragonflies Damselflies
Usually hold their wings open when resting Usually fold their wings closed above their body when resting
Forewings and hindwings generally dissimilar (eg. hindwings usually slightly shorter) Forewings and hindwings generally similar in size and shape
Dragonfly head Eyes are generally close together, often joined at the top of the head Damselfly head Eyes are less dominant and usually well separated at the sides of the head
Larvae have internal gills Larvae have external gills at the end of their body

Identifying individual species can readily be done for many species if you know what to look for. This usually involves checking the markings on the thorax (body) and abdomen (tail). Mature males are usually easiest to identify as they typically have the most distinctive colors and markings.

See the glossary for some technical terms used when describing these creatures.

Personal Experiences

For Victoria I have now seen most species but I am still encountering new ones in surprising places. Here is a list of new species for me and here is a list of unseen Victorian species.

NEW: My recorded sightings are available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY) and in Microsoft Excel and ANSI text (tab delimited) format: Reiner Richter Odonata.zip (28-Sep-2016). Please read the included license file before extracting the data. This data is now also available interactively via the Atlas of Living Australia.

Sometimes discoveries are made which warrant special reports, such as discovering a new species. Following is a list of reports made from my own observations. They are in PDF format and can be used as reference sources.

Report Name Date Updated Size
Photographing and Identifying Dragonflies in the Latrobe Valley
Notes from the presentation for the Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists Club, 26 February 2016.
26 February 2016 604KB
Photographing and Identifying Dragonflies in Central Victoria
Notes from the presentation for the Bendigo Field Naturalists Club, 13 August 2014.
23 July 2014 466KB
Odonata Presentation Notes for The Entomological Society of Victoria meeting February 19th 2013 14 August 2014 100KB
Confirmation of Austrophlebia costalis (Southern Giant Darner) in Victoria 16 March 2013 271KB
Presentation notes for The Entomological Society of Victoria meeting February 19th 2013 25 February 2013 100KB
Discovery of Austrocordulia refracta (Eastern Hawk dragonfly) in Victoria 4 October 2012 223KB
Confirmation of Cordulephya montana (Mountain Shutwing dragonfly) in Victoria 4 October 2012 1186KB
Discovery of New Populations of Hemiphlebia mirabilis (Ancient Greenling) 18 June 2010 195KB
Discovery of Pseudagrion microcephalum (Blue Riverdamsel) in Victoria 16 March 2013 170KB

External Links

Australian Dragonflies
A collection of sighting reports with many photos available.

Brisbane Dragonflies and Damselflies
The Chew family have an extensive web site of the insects they have found around Brisbane.

DragonflyPix (Australian Checklist) has a list and some photos of Australian species (plus an almost complete set of photos for European ones).

Deane P. Lewis's contains a section for dragonflies. He is based in Queensland.

Further Reading
The public Wikipedia has good information on dragonflies and, to a lesser extent, damselflies. There are also some images available, including an image showing morphology (body parts).

In 2006 the CSIRO published a great book, The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia by Günther Theischinger and John Hawking.

In 2009 the NSW Department of Environment published the Identification Guide to the Australian Odonata that you may still be able to purchase or download (9MB PDF).

Page Updated: 8-May-2018
© copyright 2019, Reiner Richter.
Please view the terms of use and contact information.