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Dragonflies and Damselflies of San Francisco Bay Area

Blue-eyed Darner
Blue-eyed Darner - Rhionaeschna multicolor (Shadow Cliffs)
Variegated Meadowhawk
Variegated Meadowhawk - Sympetrum corruptum (Las Trampas)
Western Pondhawk
Western Pondhawk - Erythemis collocata (Male, Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Western Pondhawk
Western Pondhawk - Erythemis collocata (Female, Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher - Rhionaeschna multicolor (Shadow Cliffs)
Black Saddlebags
Black Saddlebags - Tramea lacerata (Briones)
Eight-spotted Skimmer
Eight-spotted Skimmer - Libellula forensis (Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve)
Widow Skimmer
Widow Skimmer - Libellula luctuosa
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male) - Plathemis lydia (Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Common Whitetail
Common Whitetail (female) - Plathemis lydia (Shadow Cliffs)
Flame Skimmer
Flame Skimmer - Libellula saturata (Mount Diablo)
Cardinal Meadowhawk
Cardinal Meadowhawk - Sympetrum illotum (Mount Diablo)
Vivid Dancer
Vivid Dancer - Argia vivida (Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Emma's Dancer
Emma's Dancer - Argia emma (Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Sooty Dancer
Sooty Dancer (male) - Argia lugens
Credit Leslie Flint (Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Sooty Dancer
Sooty Dancer (female) - Argia lugens (Sunol Regional Wilderness)
Desert Firetail
Desert Firetail - Telebasis salva
Credit Leslie Flint (Long Ridge Open Space)
Spotter Spreadwing
Spotted Spreadwing - Lestes congener (Morgan Territory)

Odonata refers to the insect group (Order) which includes all species of Dragonflies and Damselflies. There are over 28 species of dragonflies in the Bay Area.

Some Common Dragonfly Species

  • Common Green Darner - Anax junius
  • Blue-eyed Darner - Rhionaeschna multicolor
  • California Darner - Rhionaeschna californica
  • Variegated Meadowhawk - Sympetrum corruptum
  • Cardinal Meadowhawk - Sympetrum illotum
  • Western Pondhawk - Erythemis collocata
  • Blue Dasher - Pachydiplax longipennis
  • Common Whitetail - Plathemis lydia
  • Widow Skimmer - Libellula luctuosa
  • Eight-spotted Skimmer - Libellula forensis
  • Flame Skimmer - Libellula saturata
  • Wandering Glider - Pantala flavescens
  • Spot-winged Glider - Pantala hymenaea
  • Black Saddlebags - Tramea lacerata

Some Common Damselfly Species

  • Vivid Dancer - Argia vivida
  • Sooty Dancer - Argia lugens
  • Emma's Dancer - Argia emma
  • Tule Bluet - Enallagma carunculatum
  • Pacific Forktail - Ischnura cervula
  • Western Forktail - Ischnura perparva
  • Desert Firetail - Telebasis salva
  • American Rubyspot - Hetaerina americana
  • Spotted Spreadwing - Lestes congener

Online Resources

  • An Online guide to the Odonata of California by Kathy Biggs is the best reference for identification.  ...link 
  • An illustrated checklist of the Damselflies & Dragonflies of Monterey County by Don Roberson will help with many Bay Area species. He includes photographs and notes.  ...link 
  • Field Guide to Migratory Dragonflies from the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP). This includes several Bay Area species.  ...link 
  • Tri-fold, printable PDF checklist of California Dragonflies  ...link 
  • CalOdes - Yahoo discussion group - members post local sightings and can help with identification  ...link 
  • California Dragonfly Events by Kathy Biggs  ...link 
  • OdonataCentral is a comprehesive site with field gudie, photos, maps, and checklists of Odonata of the world.  ...link 
Some local lists:
  • Dragonflies And Damselflies at Mount Diablo State Park - A Preliminary Survey by Douglas Vaughan. This article includes an annotated checklist and sighting by month - a great resource.  ...link 
  • Odonates of Skyline Open Space Preserve - a list by Alvaro Jaramillo, as of 2003.  ...link 

Media

  • A selection of useful reference books can be found here - Dragonfly Books  ...more 
  • Sharp, nice photographs of local odonates posted by members of our Flickr group  dragonflies  and  damselflies 
  • odophile.com is a website dedicated to dragonflies and damselflies of the South Bay. It has some beautiful photographs. Much information is still being filled in.  ...link 
  • Great photographs of California odonates by John Sterling.  ...link 
  • Cool virtual 3D images of a few selected dragonflies which you can rotate and zoom.  ...link 

Odonata Links

  • Places to find odonates in the Bay area by Don Roberson with mention of 3 Bay area specialities.  ...link 
  • Citizen science projects for monitoring migration and seasonal distribution of dragonflies in North America.  ...link 

Video

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