Dragonflies and the smaller damselflies are members of the Odonata order of insects. The Dragonfly Society of the Americas (oh my God we have too much time on our hands) lists a total of 463 dragonfly and damselfly species in North America. Hey, I have an idea, what if I tried to take a picture of every single species of dragonfly in Montana and then…well, maybe not. One impossible goal at a time.
Damselflies, being more demure, modestly fold their wings to their sides when resting, whereas dragonflies boldly keep their wings extended. Dragonflies and damselflies live for years but usually only for a few days or weeks in their adult form, and they sometimes fly hundreds of miles in migration. Tiny radio transmitters have been attached to dragonflies (did I mention we have too much time on our hands?) in southern Canada and used to track dragonflies all the way to Mexico. I am confident that the researchers verified that these migrations took place outside of the stomachs of migrating birds. Dragonflies and damselflies are ancient species, relatively unchanged for almost 250 million years (you know, 75 million years before North America and South America were peeled away from Europe and Africa as the super-continent Pangea dissolved). Fossils of dragonflies indicate that they may have had wingspans as broad as 30 inches in the past, significantly bigger than our breadbox.
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