Damselfly (Ordonate) Card by Julian Williams
Damselflies are generally smaller, more delicate insects than Dragonflies their faster flying cousins. Their flight is weak and they frequently need to rest on grasses and rushes on the water margins. When they are resting their wings are folded together like a butterfly does and along the body. By contrast the Dragonflies will dart and skate over the surface of ponds for hours at great speed, and when they occasionally do rest their wings are held out flat.
Some Damselflies have coloured wings, these insects are called â€œDemoiselle fliesâ€ which comes from an Old French word â€œdameisele,â€ which means â€œa young lady/damselâ€. So our common name DamselFly is probably inspired from French associations of these insects with femininity. The Dutch also use a feminine word for Dragon Flies â€œJufferâ€ which means â€œLittle Missâ€.Â Some people call them “Water Butterfilies“
The largest living Damselfly is the giant Central American Helicopter Damselfly which has a wing span of 191mm and lives by eating spiders. The smallest Damselflies are truely tiny with wingspans of less than 20mm.