Resources for IDing odonata?

Does anyone have any good resources (especially books or websites with keys) for identifying North American dragon/damselflies? There are so many in my area this time of year, especially damselflies, but I can’t make heads or tails of them most of the time.


I highly recommend Ed Lam’s Damselflies of the Northeast, available directly from the author.
This is really a work of love. The illustrations are superb and clearly show the details relevant for ID.
The range maps are very detailed.

I wish there were a similar volume on Anisoptera!


Hi, welcome to the wonderful world of ode-ing! I’m as novice as they come…only been at it a couple of years, here in Vermont. I heartily recommend finding local/regional guides if possible - one of my favorites is the Algonquin Field Guide Series.

If you’re on social media, Facebook has odonata groups all over the country, my regional ones have been very helpful. Lots of experienced people happy to share their knowledge.


Where are you located? That will help immensely- there are many regional guides available.


I’m in southern Ontario.

Thank you for the info so far!

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Here is a website that might help

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It seems that the “standard” comprehensive guides for the US and Canada are Dennis Paulson’s “Dragonflies & Damseflies of the East” & the West, both of which are excellent. The Dragonfly ID app is supported by Odonata Central and is good, although I have problems with it on Android.

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My go-to guides for dragonflies and damselflies are:

Dragonflies of the North Woods, 2nd ed., by Kurt Mead (Kollath & Stensas, 2009; ISBN 9780979200656)
Damselflies of the North Woods, by Bob DuBois (Kollath & Stensas, 2005; ISBN 9780967379377)

These don’t specifically cover Southern Ontario - I’m in the Rainy River District in Northwestern Ontario - but there is a fair bit of species overlap between the two regions. These two books have excellent identification keys and are written in clear, accessible language.

I hope this information is helpful - happy trails!

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