Damselfly life cycle - Austrolestes sp. Click to enlarge image
The life cycle illustration of a Damselfly, Austrolestes sp, Odonata Image: Andrew Howells
© Australian Museum

Damselflies are insects. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - larva - adult. They have a long and slender abdomen, two pairs of wings and three pairs of long legs. They also have very large eyes.

Damselflies are insects. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - larva - adult.

Adult damselflies have a long and slender abdomen, two pairs of wings and three pairs of long legs. They also have very large eyes.

Adult damselflies live near streams, lakes and ponds. The larvae live in streams, lakes and ponds among plants and rocks.

Adult damselflies eat mainly flying insects. Larvae eat insects in the water, worms, and occasionally small fish.

Fish, turtles, frogs, and birds all like to eat damselflies.

Adult damselflies breathe by drawing air into special breathing tubes in their bodies. These tubes are called spiracles. Larvae breathe through three long leaf-like gills at the end of their body. They use these gills to get oxygen from the water in which they live.

When damselflies breed, the male will attach the back of his abdomen to the female's head and in this position they fly together. They will then find a perch to land on and the male and female mate. The female lays her eggs near or in the water.

Dragonflies and damselflies are related. More than 80 per cent of their brain is used to make sense of what they see.