#Biodiversity150 number 50 of 150 Enallagma antennatum

50/150 A damsel in distress? Think again!

animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Odonata: Coenagrionidae: Enallagma: Enallagma antennatum (Say, 1839)

Have you ever wondered what the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly was? Well you’ve come to the right place! First things first, both dragons and damsels make up an ancient order of insects called Odonata. They originated at least 300 million years ago and have changed very little in body design since then. The main difference between dragonflies and damselflies is that dragonflies are larger bodied, highly proficient fliers, and hold their wings horizontally like an airplane while at rest. Damselflies are more slender and weaker fliers and hold their wings together behind their body when perched.

Now to zero in a bit on one particular group of damselflies: the Pond Damselflies. Pond damselflies (Coenagrionidae) are the most diverse group of damsels in the world. In Ontario alone there are 34 species of pond damsels! Most of these species are Bluets (genus Enallagma). As you might have guessed from the name, these damselflies are distinguishable from other damselfly genera in that they are generally blue in colour. Bluets are commonly associated with permanent bodies of water, as they lay their eggs in ponds and lakes and overwinter as aquatic larvae. As adults, damsels feed on spiders and other small invertebrates by flying close to vegetation and scooping their prey up from plant leaves. During mating season, males search for a female partner. Upon finding one, the male clasps the female by her neck while she bends her body around to his reproductive organs. This distinctive posture is called the “heart” or “wheel” position. The female then deposits her fertilized eggs into water. Damselfly mating is precisely choreographed and gives a whole new meaning to “sex aerobics”. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

A mating pair of Enallagma damselflies displaying the signature mating “wheel” or heart position. Photo Credit: Charlesjsharp goo.gl/eCHWIV
A pond damsel perching on vegetation. Photo Credit: Charlesjsharp goo.gl/p02HBr

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  ODSO475-08

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Enallagma antennatum

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAC0004

Title Image: 08OMSOD-0268 – Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan – 19-Jul-2008
Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics