coloursofmemory's picture


Observed: 19th June 2011 By: coloursofmemorycoloursofmemory’s reputation in Invertebratescoloursofmemory’s reputation in Invertebratescoloursofmemory’s reputation in Invertebrates
Species interactions

No interactions present.


jccurd's picture

Interesting question ... Dragonfly?

Odonata is the scientific term for the order of insects covering the suborders Zygoptera (damselflies) and Anisoptera (dragonflies).

However, since some folks have begun to use "dragonfly" as an English equivalent to Odonata, the rather ugly term (my personal opinion and nothing more) "true dragonflies" seems to have become necessary to clarify when one is referring to Anisoptera.

This is a damselfly, one of the Zygoptera.

Well, it stops me getting bored when the season is all but over. ;-)

DavidHowdon's picture


There was a recent suggestion to use
Dragonfly to mean Odonata;
Damselfly to mean Zygoptera; and
Warriorfly to mean Anisoptera.

Cannot see that taking off myself.

David Howdon

jccurd's picture

That's new.

I haven't heard of that one and, frankly, I hope we don't hear too much about it again, though clearly that's just my personal opinion.

Moreover, if we wanted a new English term, I'd have thought it would make more sense to associate it with the scientific term that didn't already have an English term, i.e. Odonata (it would match both suborders, both being predatory), leaving the other two undisturbed. Weird!

I hope it dies a death with the approaching end of the season, personally.

Thanks David.


RoyW's picture

Something to get people thinking?

The "Warriorfly" suggestion was made in the fairly recent New Naturalist book ("Dragonflies"). I'm not convinced that it was meant as an entirely serious suggestion, perhaps more as an initial idea to get people thinking. The link between dragons, damsels, and warriors is easy to see though...

jccurd's picture

Knightfly, then.

Can't remember the Warriors of King Arthur but knights slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in distress rings a bell.

Now, where's my suit of armour ...? :D


RoyW's picture

Ok for written communication...

While Knights are the traditional warriors who go off to rescue distressed damsels from dragons, "Knightfly" would have to be out as an option because of the potential confusion in verbal communication! There is clear evidence that some migrating dragonflies fly by night because they are occasionally attracted to the light of moth traps, but exactly how common this is remains unclear - and most dragonfly activity certainly takes place during the day.

PS. I now have a mental picture that suggests that the Knights of legend weren't nearly as brave as the stories suggest, and they may have done nothing more than kill a few Odonata that hysterical damsels thought might sting* them!
(Imagine a large man, in full armour, trying to swat a fast moving dragonfly while a shrieking maiden looks on! ;0) )

*In case anyone is wondering, there are no Dragonflies that sting - although this is a common myth.

jccurd's picture

Subliminal Connection

I was probably making a mental connection to an old Donald Fagen (one member of Steely Dan) album called The Nightfly.

You're quite right, of course, it would never do in our confusingly pronounced language. There are Dusk Hawkers, which I believe I saw in Maussane-les-Alpilles this year, though they just would not settle, darn it, but Dusk hardly constitutes Night/Knight.

Maybe the Knight's horse would distract the Horsestinger long enough .... oh, never mind. ;-)