Dragonflies (order Odonata) are divided into two distinct
sub-orders, the Zygoptera or Damselflies and the Anisoptera or Dragonflies.
Dragonflies are most easily distinguished from damselflies by seeing them
at rest; dragonflies hold their wings horizontally while damselflies hold
them close to the body. Dragonflies also have larger eyes, a more powerful
flight and shaped forewings and hindwings whilst damselflies have similar
shaped wings. There are 25 dragonflies and 17 damselflies currently resident
and breeding in Britain. The total number of species recorded is 56 but
some of these have not been seen since the 19th Century whilst others
are migrants from the continent.
On this menu Dragonflies are shown with a red
background, Damselflies with a dark yellow.