©Bev Wigney: Marsh Bluet damselflies (Enallagma ebrium)
Status of knowledge in Canada
Richness and diversity in Canada
Species spotlight - Broadtailed Shadowdragon, Neurocordulia michaeli
Species spotlight - River Jewelwing
Results of general status assessment
Threats to Canadian odonates
Odonata - order of insects that includes the dragonflies and damselflies. They are winged, carnivorous insects with brilliant metallic colouring, whose eggs are laid in water and which develop through an aquatic nymph (larval) stage - Henderson's dictionary of biological terms.
There are about 6500 species of odonates in the world, of which 209 can be found in Canada.
The majority (69%) of odonates in Canada have Canada General Status Ranks (Canada ranks) of Secure, while 13% have Canada ranks of May Be At Risk and 13% have Canada ranks of Sensitive. No odonates have Canada ranks of At Risk, because COSEWIC has not yet assessed any odonate species.
Odonates first emerged over 300 million years ago, about the same time as the reptiles first appeared, making the Odonata one of the oldest orders of insects alive today.
The fossil dragonfly Meganeura, which lived about 250 million years ago, had a wingspan of over 50 cm, making it the largest odonate known!
Dragonflies can have more than 25 000 lenses in each eye, giving them almost 360 degree vision.
Citation for species list
Dunkle, S.W. 2000. Dragonflies through binoculars. Oxford University Press. 266 pp.
Needham,J.G., M.J. Westfall Jr and M.L.May 1996. Dragonflies of North America. Scientific Publishers.
Pilon, J.-G.and D. Lagace. 1998. Les Odonates du Quebec. Entomofaune, Chicoutimi. 367 pp.
Walker, E.M. 1953. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska. Vol. 1. Univerity of Toronto Press, Ont.
Walker, E.M. 1958. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska. Vol. 2. Univerity of Toronto Press, Ont.
Walker E.M.and P.S.Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska (vol. 3) University of Toronto Press. 307 pp.
Westfall M.J.and M.L. May 1996. Damselflies of North America. Scientific Publishers. 649 pp.