Arboretum Dragonflies and Damselflies

students using butterfly nets

Our site seems to be a perfect spot to find a variety of dragonfly and damselfly species (collectively known as odonates) because we are at a junction of northern species and southern species. This and our various wetland areas help us have a long list of odonates. Catching and identifying these fascinating insects is becoming a popular pastime among naturalists and their records give us a good understanding of odonate distributions and habitat use.

Spatterdock Darner
Spatterdock Darners are very rare in Ontario and may be classified as threatened or endangered in the near future. This female was found near our nature centre in 2008. A male was seen in another spot in The Arboretum in 2012.

Sedge Sprite
The Sedge Sprite is our smallest odonate.

We teach a dragonfly and damselfly workshop at The Arboretum; Dragonfly Workshop details. We also sell Dragonflies of The Arboretum booklets to help you start on the fun journey of dragonfly identification.

Emerald Dragon Fly
It is obvious how the dragonflies called emeralds get their name. Odonates have wonderfully fun names such as jewelwing, snaketail, dancer, bluet, meadowhawk and skimmer.

Dragonfly on persons face
We often let our dragonflies go by letting them perch on our noses after we identify them. This baskettail is hanging onto the nose of summer naturalist Alison Maxwell.

Swamp Darner
This is our biggest species of odonate, the Swamp Darner. The first record of this species in The Arboretum was made by three students aged 13, 14 and 16.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of The University of Guelph Arboretum

Broad-winged Damsels

  • River Jewelwing
  • Ebony Jewelwing


  • Spotted Spreadwing
  • Northern Spreadwing
  • Emerald Spreadwing
  • Slender Spreadwing
  • Lyre-tipped Spreadwing
  • Sweetflag Spreadwing

Pond Damsels

  • Blue-fronted Dancer
  • Violet Dancer
  • Taiga Bluet
  • Northern Bluet
  • Boreal Bluet
  • Familiar Bluet
  • Marsh Bluet
  • Skimming Bluet
  • Orange Bluet
  • Fragile Forktail
  • Eastern Forktail
  • Sedge Sprite
  • Tule Bluet


  • Canada Darner
  • Lance-tipped Darner
  • Variable Darner
  • Black-tipped Darner
  • Shadow Darner
  • Green-striped Darner
  • Common Green Darner
  • Springtime Darner
  • Fawn Darner
  • Swamp Darner
  • Spatterdock Darner


  • Unicorn Clubtail
  • Ashy Clubtail
  • Dusky Clubtail
  • Rusty Snaketail


  • Arrowhead Spiketail


  • American Emerald
  • Racket-tailed Emerald
  • Beaverpond Baskettail
  • Spiny Baskettail
  • Common Baskettail
  • Prince Baskettail
  • Clamp-tipped Emerald
  • Brush-tipped Emerald
  • Williamson's Emerald


  • Calico Pennant
  • Halloween Pennant
  • Eastern Pondhawk
  • Chalk-fronted Corporal
  • Dot-tailed Whiteface
  • Belted Whiteface
  • Widow Skimmer
  • Twelve-spotted Skimmer
  • Four-spotted Skimmer
  • Painted Skimmer 
  • Blue Dasher
  • Wandering Glider
  • Spot-winged Glider
  • Eastern Amberwing
  • Common Whitetail
  • Saffron-winged Meadowhawk 
  • Cherry-faced Meadowhawk
  • White-faced Meadowhawk
  • Ruby Meadowhawk
  • Band-winged Meadowhawk
  • Autumn Meadowhawk
  • Carolina Saddlebags 
  • Black Saddlebags

Total: 69 species