Dragonfly and Damselflies of The Woodlands & Montgomery County Texas
Copyright 2004-2023 by Dick Locke.  All Rights Reserved.  Contact and Image Use Information  Regular fly pictures are here.  Bug page herePrimary Dragonflies & Damselflies page here.

Dragonflies and damselflies make good targets in the dog days of summer.  They're readily available in the yard around our house, so I don't need to leave the air conditioning for long.  I'm still learning to identify the common species in the area so I put together this pictorial guide.  It shows full views to help easily identify the species.  All images from The Woodlands or nearby areas in Montgomery County.

Mating Eastern Pondhawk Dragonflies

Dragonfly mating is unusual by human standards ;-)  The Female is green and the male is blue.  This is from 2016 in our neighborhood with the big lens and D810A camera.

  Female Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly

The Eastern Pondhawks are very common in our neighborhood.  The green females are easy to identify.  Green Darners, also green obviously, are much bigger.  See below.

Common Green Darners

Very large and colorful dragonflies.  I thought they were mating, and it may be fair to say they are...  But really these dragonflies "ovipositing" (laying eggs).  My buddy Gil advises: Photo shows Common Green Darner. Anax junius. The bluer one is the male. He is holding the female in tandem linkage, basically guarding her from other males. She is depositing eggs. Not all dragonflies will oviposit while in tandem linkage but this is one species that does


Male Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Male Blue Dasher dragonfly, Pachydiplax longipennis.  I shot this guy with the big lens while I was chasing the Black-bellied Whistling-ducks (seen at the link).  The males have the blue-green (cyan) colored eyes as shown here.  The females have brown/reddish eyes as shown in the picture below.  BugGuide link here.  They are relatively small.

Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly

August 2016.

Female Needham's Skimmer

This is from the backyard, May 2015.  If you look carefully you can see its prey which I suspect (and hope) to be one of that big nasty mosquitoes we're seeing after all the rains.  Thanks again to Gil who provided the ID:  This is a female-type skimmer, family Libellulidae. There are two species in your area that are almost identical: Golden-winged and Needham's Skimmers. They are told apart by the markings on the sides of the thorax. I can see just enough of that in your photo to suspect this is a female or immature male Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami).  After viewing the image below:  Based on the lateral view, it is confirmed: Needham's Skimmer.  Image Details: Nikon D750 Camera, 200mm f4 macro lens aperture priority f8, 1/1600s, auto-ISO 1000, matrix metering.  I used the fine resolution JPEG out of the camera, vivid setting, plus HDR toning in Photoshop at default settings, but with a fade to just saturation.

Needham's Skimmer - Immature Male (Corrected)

Check out the white hair on this guy (it's a male)!  There was a little back-light thing going on with this images.  Nikon D810A, f5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 400, -1 spot metered with the 500 just about as close as I could get!  Posted 8/1/2016.  Bugguide.net link here.  Needham's and Golden-winged skimmers are almost identical, unfortunately for those of us trying to make IDs!  This was originally ID'd, incorrectly, as a Golden-winged.  Greg Lasley's excellent guide to differentiating Needham's & Golden-winged skimmers is at this link.

Male Needham's Skimmer

Above is a 2021 shot of a mature male Needham's Skimmer.  These are hard to differentiate from Golden-winged Skimmers, but I have only ever seen Needham's in The Woodlands area.  Here's a great web page that shows the differences between Golden-winged & Needhams.

Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly

For some reason these ladies seem to be very camera shy!  Nikon D810A camera and 200mm f4 lens at f8, 1/250s, ISO 500.

Common Whitetail Dragonfly - Male

This is a pretty good side/back view of a male Whitetail.  The camera angle allowed me to get most of the fly in focus.  Whitetails are plentiful in our front yard this year (2015), where we have a bumper crop of both dragonflies and mosquitoes.  Nikon D810A camera, 200mm f4 lens, 1/500s at f11, ISO 1600.

Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

September 2016, back yard. This one was very cooperative in the early morning light.  How about all that hair?  Back yard 9/11/2016.  Here's a link to the bugguide ID (a different shot of same bug).  Tramea lacerata.  Black Saddlebags. They are not as dark when immature. The yellow spots on the top of segment 7 (RL: on Bugguide shot of this guy) separates this from Red or Carolina.

Carolina Saddlebags, Tramea carolina

From 6/13/20 in the hood. It's maddening to try to catch dragonflies in flight; managed to get this in decent focus. It wasn't interested in stopping for me.  Carolina ID is iffy as Black Saddlebags is very close.

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

Male Widow Skimmer from 5/31/2015.  Gil advises: Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa), either a female or an immature male. The pattern of darkness on the wing is distinctive in this species. It is a close relative to, and in the same genus as, your Needham's Skimmer.

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly - Male

This is from July 2020 in the drainage area around our neighborhood.  The only other I photographed was the one shown prior to this, 5/31/2015 in the back yard.


Female Great Blue Skimmer

June 2020 backyard

Great Blue Skimmer (had as female but not sure about that)

June 2020, backyard

Male Great Blue Skimmer

June, 2019

Common Sanddragon - Progomphus obscurus (teneral)

The Woodlands, 5/12/2019.  Teneral means recently molted and not having final colors.

Common Sanddragon

Above 4/15/2023 from The Woodlands Bear Branch Creek area.


Halloween Pennant - Female

June 2020 from our neighborhood.

Male Halloween Pennant

The males are more of an orange color, versus yellow for the females.  July 2020.


Four-spotted Pennant Dragonfly

May 2020

Twelve-spotted Skimmer - Female

From October 23, 2022 in The Woodlands


Male Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly

May 2020, HP.  These are very small dragonflies, and can be confused with a large wasp with their coloring.  June 2022, corrected sex!

Female Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly

July 2020.  Corrected sex, had them reversed, June 2022.

Broad-striped Forceptail (Aphylla angustifolia)

July 2020.  Very excited to find this guy as they seem somewhat rare.

Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni) Male

Here's a different forceptail, 7/17/2021.  The male has the vertical stripe behind the eyes, females do not.

Oklahoma Clubtails in Tandem

Male upper right.  April 2, 2022.


Below are two views of an immature male Slaty Skimmer

Immature Male Slaty Skimmer (Artistic View)

Both the Slaty Skimmers were from 8/1/2021.  Looks like the blue fades to black as they age.

Immature Male Slaty Skimmer (Diagnostic View)


Female Calico Pennant - Celithemis elisa

June 15, 2021.  Note to self, don't assume the yellow dragons in the distance are always Halloween Pennants!

Black Setwing Dragonfly (male)

July 2021 The Woodlands.

Perched Male Variegated Meadowhawk

This one is with the Nikon D750 and 300mm f2.8 VR lens with a 1.7x teleconverter. Shot at 1/1250s, f6.3, ISO 400 matrix metered.


Female Little Blue Dragonlet

Seen March, 2023, near The Woodlands.  The names are appropriate; these are very small dragons.

Male Little Blue Dragonlet

Seen March, 2023, near The Woodlands.



American Rubyspot Dragonflies (male left, female right)

From July, the lovely American Rubyspot dameselflies. These two were kind enough to pose as shown, the male on the left and the female on right. In flight the "ruby spots" on the wings are really something; no luck catching that just yet.  There are quite large for Damsels.  The female comes in two color forms, she may have either green or copper colored marks on the thorax.

Female Fragile Forktail Damselfly


Female Fragile Forktail Damselfly - Alternate View


Male Fragile Forktail Damselfly



Juvenile Female Rambur's Forktail Damselfly


Rambur's Forktail - Male

2019 - Got himself some brunch


Orange Bluet Damselflies

March 25, 2023 from The Woodlands



Citrine Forktail Immature Female

5/13/2020 Just to make identification interesting the females have 3 different colorations. Bugguide says: A polymorphic species. Males with either bright green thorax or a bluish thorax. Females with 3 forms: i) orange, ii) olive, or iii) male-like.

Male Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata)

This is a grinning male Citrine Forktail Damselfly (Ischnura hastata) from the backyard June 2021.  I realize this close-up makes it look "big" but these are the smallest damsels in the US, about 1 inch from head to tail. They blend in so well you pretty much have to catch them flying to see them at all.


Powdered Dancer (Female)

April 15, 2023, The Woodlands.

Male Powdered Dancer Argia moesta



Male Powdered Dancer

Note now different this looks from the previous, despite being same species & sex.  10/23/22.


 Stream Bluets (Enallagma exsulans)

May 2019 from the Bear Branch area.  This tandem pair shows the male on top and in better focus; with the female being more green.



Immature Male Blue-ringed Dancer Damselfly, Argia sedula

May, 2019

Argia sedula (female) - Blue-ringed Dancer

Blue-ringed Dancer Damselflies Argia sedula in tandem

The male is the deep blue - August 2021 in The Woodlands.


Clearer View of Blue-Ringed Dancers

Above - September 2021 The Woodlands - these are the dominant species in terms of numbers right now at the stream.


Copyright by Dick Locke.  All Rights Reserved.
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