Larva ID Tips: Dragonflies & Damselflies

Dragonfly and damselfly larvae have mouthparts with a long lower lip (labium) which is folded underneath the head when not feeding and may look like a scoop or a mask (click here for an excellent photo of a dragonfly larva with “mask” from Damselfly larvae have 3 long gills at the tip of the abdomen. Dragonfly larvae look similar, but do not have 3 long gills.

Figure 8.5: Damselfly larva. Image from URL:

Figure 8.A: Damselfly larva.
Image from URL:

Figure 8.6: Dragonfly larva. Image from URL:

Figure 8.B: Dragonfly larva.
Image from URL:

Click here to watch a YouTube video of a dragonfly emerging from the water and transforming into an adult.


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The MSP project is funded by an ESEA, Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MSP was developed by the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and faculty from Montana Tech of The University of Montana and Montana State University, with support from other Montana University System Faculty.