Generic key to adult North American dragonflies


 Key to dragonflies

 Printable key

Here I provide a revised key to the 63 North American genera of dragonflies (now including the recently introduced Crocothemis). This key is based largely on information provided by the classic reference for North American dragonflies by Needham and Westfall (1955). There have been taxonomic changes in the last 40 years, of course, resulting in a number of generic reassignments, which are reflected herein. I obtained most characters, and assessments of intrataxon character variability, from Needham and Westfall (1955). My key is only to genera because I am not familiar enough with enough species to construct reliable keys at the specific level; consult Needham and Westfall for species determinations. Also, so far my key only deals with adults, not nymphs.

Click here to see changes I've made to the site in recent months, most recently:

September 27, 2000: Ms. Brenda Laking caught a few errors in the key: I accidentally switched the character states in couplets 16 and 26, and omitted "or more" in couplet 28. These have been corrected. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns, which can only make this key a better resource for everyone.

Any comments, suggestions, and questions are welcome:

Alan W. Harvey
Department of Biology - 8042
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30460
(912) 681-5784

--- Last updated 3/26/04 ---