Dragonflies are insects in the sub-order Anisoptera (meaning “unequal-winged”). Hind wings are usually shorter and broader than forewings. They are usually large, strongly flying insects that can often be found flying well away from water. When at rest, they hold their wings out from the body, often at right angles to it. The eyes are very large and usually touch, at least at a point.

Damselflies are insects in the sub-order Zygoptera (meaning “paired-wings”). All four wings are near enough equal in size and shape. They are usually small, weakly flying insects that stay close to the water margins or water surface. When at rest, most species hold their wings along the length of their abdomen. The Emerald Damselflies are an exception and usually hold their wings partly open when at rest. They are therefore known as Spreadwings in North America. The eyes are always separated, never touching.