Dragon and damselflies are somewhat similar insects, both belonging to the order Odonata - not a word you read every day! 


Dragonflies are bigger than damselflies with thicker bodies. Damselflies are smaller, more dainty and where dragonflies rest with their wings perpendicular to their bodies, damselflies rest with theirs along the line of their bodies. As Risley Moss is a wet habitat, it's no surprise that we have fourteen species of dragonflies and damselflies seen here regularly, including these dragonflies:

  • Four-spotted chaser
  • Southern hawker
  • Common hawker
  • Brown hawker
  • Black darter
  • common darter
  • emperor 
  • migrant hawker
  • black-tailed skimmer


The damselflies include:

  • Large red
  • Emerald
  • Blue-tailed
  • Common azure

Sightings at Risley Moss

We've also had sightings of the rarer broad bodied chaser, the banded agrion and the ruddy darter.

The dragonflies with 'hawker' in their name are the largest ones with the emperor the biggest of all! Hawkers like to patrol up and down the woodland glades and can be quite curious, sometimes coming up to you to have a good nosey! They don't sting, so don't worry! 

Chasers and darters are as they sound - they're smaller and tend to flit around quickly and return to their hiding spot, always in a hurry! Although the common and black darters can often be seen sunbathing on wooden rails or sculptures.

24 January 2022

Did you know?

  • Dragon and damselflies both belong to the order Odonata
  • Dragonflies are bigger than damselflies with thicker bodies
  • There's 14 species of dragon and damselflies at Risley Moss