Guide to NZ Dragonflies

I use the term "dragonfly" in this heading to denote both dragonflies and damselflies, the odonata. From the next screen I will refer to damsels and dragons separately where this is appropriate.

What is described here is a "photographer's" identification guide - the characteristics are in terms of live adult animals, and based on Rowe, 1987.

These animals have been a photographic hobby of mine since my first digital camera, soon after the millennium. I was at the time living near Boldermere in Surrey, which was the source of the first field guide to English odonata. When I returned to New Zealand in 2006 I could not find a field guide of any useful kind, so I decided to start my own, online.

The structure of this site is as follows: there is an explanation of the differences between the two groups of odonata, then a textual differentiation based on the colour of the animal. This in turn leads to a detailed description; I am planning to replace or enhance that with my own observations and photographs when I can do so.

At times I have been forced in spite of myself to use technical terms, which are explained in a glossary linked from them. I am trying to keep this from becoming too much of a specialist's site, but I was not able to use simple English all the time.

I want this site to evolve, both as I get to see more of the animals and as I get feedback. In the initial version, all the photos were my own; as may be seen this is no longer the case. I definitely consider submitted photos when they are offered, and give credit where it is due. Please include the date and the location you took the photo when you send one to me.

To start the process, click here.

For questions, comments, feedback, further information, and offers of photos to enhance what I already have, I can be reached by . The email link requires javascript to work; if it is incomplete, or if email would be too slow anyway, please call me on my mobile, (+64) 021-221-0102. If you are calling from outside New Zealand, please check the time at my place beforehand, using a web site such as

I do this as a hobby; to find out what I do for a living, and more about me, please click here.

Version 2.0 of the site released January 2019: some new photos; some descriptions and links updated with new information.