This page contains pictures and information about Dragonflies
and Damselflies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
have a quick look on those beautiful insects, you can go to our Damsel
Field Guide and Dragon Field Guide pages. For more details
please proceed from below.
- The insect Order Odonata includes
damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) and
dragonflies (suborder Anisoptera). Most of them
are medium to large size, body
length from 15mm to 120mm. Their bodies are long and slender, usually with bright
colours. All of them have two pairs of membranous
hind wings and forewings are more or less similar size and shape. They have very small antennae but
very large compound eyes. They have the small three eyes (ocelli) as well.
Their mouths are very good at biting (they don't bite or sting human). Their eyes and mouth occupy almost all
their head. More about Dragonflies
and Damselflies can be found on this page.
- Dragonflies and Damselflies lay eggs in flash
water where the larvae grow. Larvae need fairly precise habitat and
sensitive to water pollution. Dragonfly adult is a predator in the sky and
preying on flying insects. Larva may spend years in water, depend
on species, while adults live only a few weeks.
are further divided into families. Followings listed the
Odonata species that we found so far. The dragonfly and
damselfly species in Brisbane are much more than listed in this web site, however, to
take their pictures is not easy. We hope we
can build up the list with time. Please come back to this web site from time to
- Damselflies are usually smaller than Dragonflies and with slender body.
Their eyes are well separated on each side of the head. Their wings are
narrow at the base with hindwings of similar shape to the forewings. The
damselfly larvae have three or occasionally two caudal gills (tails) for breathing
- Family DIPHLEBIIDAE - Azure Damselflies
- The Azure Damselflies are all in bright blue colour. This Damselfly family
found only in Australia and New Guinea. They are large, thick body and rest
with wings spread. Their wings usually have the large dark brown pattern. We
found only one species in
Brisbane area, the Rockmaster Damselflies, are large, thick body and rest
with wings spread so you may think that they are the dragonflies.
- Family LESTIDAE -
- The damselfly in this family has narrow wings and slender body, rests with
wings closed. We found only one species of this family in Brisbane. We found
them in early summer on the hill top of White Hill in Brisbane where was quite
far away from any water. The female damselfly was camouflaged as part of the
tip of the stem.
- The Megapodagrionidae, or the Flatwings, is another damselflies family
which can easily be found in Brisbane area. As their common name implies, when
at rest, they spread their wings flat. They are usually metallic in colour,
either green, blue or bronze. Females
oviposit in tandem with males above the surface of the water and eggs are
usually placed in plants.
- Family PROTONEURIDAE - Threadtail Damselflies
- The Threadtail Damselflies are small in size, their abdomen are
pin-thin. Their wings are usually clean. We found only one species in
Brisbane area. However, they can easily be found near semi-shaded running
water. They usually rest in group on the plants at the water edges. They can
still be be seen even in winter time. In summer, large number of them can
easily be found.
Family COENAGRIONIDAE -
- Coenagrionidae is the most abundant damselfly in Brisbane area. They are
usually with black pattern, the ground colour may be green, blue, yellow,
orange, or purple. Some species are two female colour forms, one of which is
similar to the male. Their wings are usually colourless and clear. They prefer
to lay eggs in pond or slow running water. Usually they are small and
- Dragonflies are strong flyer and spend most of the time in air. Their
large compound eyes are either very close or touching each others. Their
hindwings are always broader then the forewings near the base. The larvae
breathe by internal tracheal gills and do not have external
- The Petaltail Dragonflies are considered to be the most primitive
dragonflies. All Petaltails are very large in size. They have separated
eyes like the Clubtails family. Most of them are black or dark brown in
colour. The pterostigmas on their wings are very long. Their males
have the anal appendages enlarged like the petal, and this is why they are
- Family TELEPHEBIIDAE -
Family Telephebiidae is very close to the family Aeshnidae. Members in
the Telephebiidae family are commonly known as Darner Dragonflies.
They are usually large in size, with body
length 50-100 mm and wings span 80-150 mm. They are either blue,
green, brown or yellow in colour with black markings. Their compound
eyes are broadly confluent at the midline of the head. Their wings are
- Family AESHNIDAE - Hawkers
Members in this family are usually large in size. They are either
blue, green, brown or yellow in colour with black markings. Their wings are
always clear. They are commonly known as Hawk Dragonflies. They are strong
fliers and may be found long distance from water. They spend most of the
time flying and hunting for prey, seldom rest. When rest, they are usually
in a vertical position.
- This family is newly separated from the family GOMPHIDAE. They are large
dragonflies, usually black and yellow colours with clear wings. Eyes are
widely separated. The male have the "finned tails". The
larvae burrow in the bottom sediments of the streams or wave washed
shores. Most species the mature larval crawls out onto the shore for
emergence instead climbing up the vegetations. Adults usually sit on
vegetations under the sun.
Family GOMPHIDAE - Clubtails
The Clubtails Dragonflies live in streams particularly in open forest. They
are medium to large
in size. They can be easily recognized by their smaller and
widely separated eyes. They are green or yellow in colour with black strips.
They have enlarge area in the end
of abdomen and this is why they are commonly called Clubtails. The
larvae burrow in the bottom sediments of the streams or wave washed
Family SYNTHEMISTIDAE -
The members in this family are commonly called Tigerlet. They are also known
as Southern Emeralds. Most of them are small in size and
with narrow abdomens. We found only one species in Brisbane. The dragonfly
is metallic black with yellow in colour. Wings are clear with light brown
colour. They can easily be found near Moolabin Creek and Oxley Creek
Members in this family can be small to large in size, which generally have metallic
green, black or yellow body. They have emerald eyes when matured, but often
brown in immature stage. When perched, they usually hang suspended
vertically. They are strong flyer and spend most of
the time in air. We sometimes find them resting in our backyard where is at
lease one km away from creeks or ponds.
Family LIBELLULIDAE - Skimmers
The dragonflies in this family are with distinctly broadened abdomen. They are
from small to large in size. Their bodies is distinctively
shorter than their wings span. They are usually
red, yellow and blue in colour. Some species have wings patterns. They
spend more time at rest than the dragonflies in other family. The males are
territorial and will often return to the same or a nearby spot.
- More about Dragonflies and Damselflies........................
- 1. Insects of
Australia - CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991,
- 2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926,
- 3. The Australian Dragonflies - CSIRO, Watson, Theisinger &
- 4. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of South East Queensland - Ric
- 5. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia - CSIRO, GŁnther Theischinger and John Hawking,
- 6. Field Guide to Dragonflies of Hong Kong - Keith DP Wilson, Cosmos Books, 2003
Back to Top
[ Damselfly Field Guide ] [ Dragonfly ield Guide ] [ DIPHLEBIIDAE ] [ SYNLESTIDAE ] [ LESTIDAE ] [ MEGAPODAGRIONIDAE ] [ PROTONEURIDAE ] [ COENAGRIONIDAE ] [ PETALURIDAE ] [ TELEPHEBIIDAE ] [ AESHNIDAE ] [ LINDENIIDAE ] [ GOMPHIDAE ] [ SYNTHEMISTIDAE ] [ HEMICORDULIIDAE ] [ LIBELLULIDAE ] [ More About Dragonfly ]