Dragonflies and Damselflies

Four-spotted Pennant 512x219

A beautiful orange and black immature male Four-spotted Pennant alights on a water lily.

Whirling by in a blur of color, the fastest winged insects keep us company at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Dragonflies and damselflies spend their entire life-cycles dependent on the wetland ecosystems around us. Both the flying adults and aquatic larvae hunt and eat insects, including an average of 100 mosquitoes per day. Generally, dragonflies are much bigger and hold their wings spread open, while damselflies are generally much smaller and hold their wings pinched closed. 

Here at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge you can find a large variety of dragonflies and damselflies (Class Ordonata). Both are largely undocumented at the refuge. If you get a good picture, try uploading it to a citizen science site. It helps us understand what species we have and expand this list. 

Click here to download our Dragonflies and Damselflies Species Checklist.

Below is a list of some known species to occur on Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

Southern SpreadwingLestes australis
Blue-fronted DancerArgia apicalis
Blue-tipped DancerArgia tibialis
Kiowa DancerArgia immunda
Orange BluetEnallagma signatum
Big BluetEnallagma durum
Rambur’s ForktailIschnura ramburii
Citrine ForktailIschnura hastata
Fragile ForktailIschnura posita


Gray PetaltailTachopteryx thoreyi
Common Green DarnerAnax junius
Swamp DarnerEpiaeschna heros
Broad-striped ForceptailAphylla angustifolia
Royal River CruiserMacromia taeniolata
Prince BaskettailEpitheca princeps
Twelve-spotted SkimmerLibellula pulchella
Great Blue SkimmerLibellula vibrans
Slaty SkimmerLibellula incesta
Needham’s SkimmerLibellula neehami
Roseate SkimmerOrthemis ferruginea
Eastern AmberwingPerithemis tenera
Four-spotted PennantBrachymesia gravida
Halloween PennantCelithemis eponina
Red-tailed PennantBrachymesia furcata
Marl PennantMarcrodiplax balteata
Great PondhawkErythemis vesiculosa
Eastern PondhawkErythemis simplicicollis
Seaside DragonletErythrodiplax berenice
Band-winged DragonletErythrodiplax umbrata
Variegated MeadowhawkSympetrum corruptum
Blue DasherPachydiplax longipennis
Red SaddlebagsTramea onusta
Black SaddlebagsTramea lacerata
Hyacinth GliderMiathyria marcella

Additionally, check out the iNaturalist page for dragonfly and damselfly observations on the refuge.