This unknown dragonfly was surprisingly comfortable and allowed me to get pretty close, the closest I've ever been to none, in fact. There were quite a few of them flitting around. Sharing the same order (Ordonata), dragonflies are closely related to damselflies. In fact, the two are often confused for one another, due to the fact that they share habitats, life cycles, and general characteristics. However, there are several differences which, with careful observation, can help distinguish between these two suborders. Damselflies have eyes positioned far on the sides of their heads and have slender abdomens, compared to the thick abdomens of dragonflies. Dragonflies have a hindwing which is thicker at the base than the forewing, while the wings of the damselfly are relatively the same. Also, there are differences in the ways that they hold their wings. Dragonflies have theirs laid out horizontally while damselflies have wings that are angled above or in line with their abdomen. Their activity yields some distinct traits as well. Damselflies are less powerful than dragonflies and so tend to perch until prey flies by. Dragonflies actively fly in the open and swarm to catch prey. If you are lucky enough to observe a nymph, then it is easy to determine the correct identification. Damselfly nymphs are slim and small, while dragonfly nymphs are football-shaped and large with a point at the end of their abdomens. This particular specimen was chasing another dragonfly around, perhaps a possible mate. My proximity may have been possible because of this fact and the presence of the other dragonfly.
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