Dragonfly Anatomy

adult dragonfly adult damselfly dragonfly larva damselfly larva

The following is a list of definitions of the technical terms used in the illustrations and text. We have tried to keep the use of technical terms to a minimum, for a more detailed account of anatomical terms see Askew (1988).

adult dragonfly

abdomen The segmented tail-like section of the body.
anal appendages The appendages on the posterior end of the abdomen, also known as 'claspers'. There are superior (upper) and inferior (lower) appendages. In male Dragonflies they are used to clasp the female around the head (dragonflies) or the pronotum (damselflies) during mating and when in tandem.
antehumeral stripes Stripes along the dorsal surface of the thorax.
antenna(e) A pair of sensory organs on top of the head.
caudal gills or caudal lamellae Leaf-like appendages of zygopteran larvae used for respiration.
cercus (s.), cerci (pl.) The outer pair of anal appendages on anisopteran larvae.
costa Major vein running along the leading edge of the wings.
epiproct The middle anal appendage on anisopteran larvae.
femur The first segment of the leg.
frons The most prominent part of the face in anisopteran dragonflies.
labium The lower lip of the dragonfly's mouthparts; in the larva this is held under the head but can rapidly shoot forwards to catch prey.
lateral spine Spine on the side of anisopteran larvae.
median lobe Central lobe on hind margin of pronotum
ovipositor The egg laying structure located beneath abdominal segments 8-10 in females.
paraprocts The inner pair of anal appendages on anisopteran larvae.
pronotum A shield-like plate covering the top of the thorax.
pseudo-pterostigma A pale patch, resembling a pterostigma on the wings of female Calopteryx.
pterostigma A coloured, chitinous patch on the outer region of each wing.
tarsus The three segments and a claw on the end of the leg.
thorax, thoracic The segment of the body between the head and the abdomen.
tibia The second section of the leg.
vulvar scale A flap below abdominal segment 8 in females which can be prominent in some species.
wing node A notch halfway along the leading edge of the wing.
wing sheath A protective case for the wings.

Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (Aug 22). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/


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