Dragonflies and Damselflies

A 12-spotted Skimmer dragonfly

Quivira has over 7,000 acres of wetlands - plenty to attract a wide variety of these fascinating creatures!

These insects, in the order Odonata, undergo a complete metamorphosis from their aquatic, wingless larvae to their winged, often colorful, adult stage.  Two main groups are recognized:  Damselflies and Dragonflies.  Quivira has numerous species in both categories, and the most common species are pictured below.  For a full checklist, click the link below:

 Checklist of Documented Odonates at Quivira NWR



Typically rather delicate, slow-flying insects, with very narrow bodies.  Many fly with a skipping motion, and most hold their wings closed at rest.


American Rubyspot
American Rubyspot, a rather large damsel that is found only where running water exists.
Bluet damselfly
Bluet, one of several very similar species of tiny, pond-side damsels.




Stout-bodied insects and fast-flying.  Some fly low and fast, others fly high and are difficult to see well.


Common Blue Darner
Common Blue Darner, our largest and fastest species. 
Eastern Amberwing
Eastern Amberwing, our smallest species, and uniquely colored. 
 Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher, a fairly common, medium-sized species.  Females are brown. 
Eastern Pondhawk
Eastern Pondhawk, similar to the Blue Dasher, but without the striped thorax. Females are bright green and black. 
Band-winged Meadowhawk
This brightly-patterned, small species is called a Band-winged Meadowhawk.
Variegated Meadowhawk
The Variegated Meadowhawk, is our most common species, seen much of the year. 
 Halloween Pennant
Halloween Pennant, a distinctive species of pond banks. 
Common Whitetail
Somewhat similar to the related Widow Skimmer, the Common Whitetail differs by having no blue on the wings, and different positions of the brown wing spots. 
 12-spotted Skimmer
The Twelve-spotted Skimmer is easy to identify by its brown and blue-spotted wings. 
 Widow Skimmer 
Widow Skimmer, a very common, medium-sized dragonfly.  Females lack the blue on the wings.
 Black Saddlebags
The Black Saddlebags is a fairly large, fast species that is named after its dark patches on the wings.
Red Saddlebags
A real treat to find is the Red Saddlebags, a fairly large species like its cousin the Black Saddlebags.