Our creeks, streams, and rivers are mostly silent this time of year. It’s hard to believe that in just a few months, they will be buzzing with many kinds of beautiful insects.

Springwater dancer, male, from Williamsville, in Wayne County, Mo.

Springwater dancer, male, from Williamsville, in Wayne County, Mo.

Some of the most overlooked, and most beautiful, are damselflies. Very similar to dragonflies, damselflies are smaller and their wings fold at rest, while dragonfly wings stay in the flying position.

Their habits, though, are quite the same. They both defend small territories along the stream banks, often in thick stands of water willow. They are also both major predators of mosquitoes and gnats, which are a pest to rivergoers, making them that much more likable.

Damselflies are also preyed on by dragonflies at times. Their colors and curiosity are also interesting. I have followed gorgeous males, trying to get a photo, with no luck… only to have them fly over land on my finger or bill of my hat!

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