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One of the best things about writing this blog is that I’m constantly learning new things. When this gorgeous creature flitted across my path in Bute Park on Wednesday, I thought ‘Ooooo, my first dragonfly of the year!’ Wrong! This is a damselfly, a female of the very aptly named species Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx Virgo).

damselfly Beautiful Demoiselle female (2)

So, I asked myself, ‘how do I tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly?’ It seems there are four basic differences that even I should be able to spot:
1) Body shape: dragonflies are bulkier, shorter and thicker, whereas damselflies are slender and delicate.
2) Eyes: a dragonfly’s eyes are much larger, wrapping around from the side to the front of the head, often touching. The eyes of the damselfly are also big, but tend to be more to the side of the head, with a definite gap between.

Damselfly Beautiful Demoiselle female

3) Wing shape: the hind wings of the dragonfly are larger than the fore wings and broaden at the base, but the damselfly’s wings are both the same size and shape, and narrow markedly where they connect to the body.
4) Wing position: when resting, the dragonfly always spreads its wings, whereas the damselfly rests with its wings together above its body.

dragonfly brown hawker female

Above is a photo of a female Brown Hawker dragonfly (Aeshna grandis), taken last year, so you can see the differences. And, hopefully, my rather early Beautiful Demoiselle will just be the first of many of these heavenly creatures.