Suborder ANISOPTERA Selys, 1854
true dragonflies


The true dragonflies (the term ‘dragonflies’ is also used commonly for all Odonata) are generally more robust and have a more powerful flight than damselflies. The eyes touch each other, with the exception of the Gomphidae. In rest the wings are held wide, often even pressed down. Only very teneral individuals fold the wings above abdomen. Worldwide about ten families are distinguished, half of which are found in Africa. [Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]


Differs from suborder Zygoptera by Hw base being broader than Fw base, with different venation and membranule. Eyes are in contact or separated only by a ridge-like occiput.

Map citation: Clausnitzer, V., K.-D.B. Dijkstra, R. Koch, J.-P. Boudot, W.R.T. Darwall, J. Kipping, B. Samraoui, M.J. Samways, J.P. Simaika & F. Suhling, 2012. Focus on African Freshwaters: hotspots of dragonfly diversity and conservation concern. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 129-134.

Citation: Dijkstra, K.-D.B (editor). African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online. [2017-03-26].