This site provides images of many of the common dragonflies and damselflies of Ecuador for anyone to use to identify their photos or specimens. Although the site is far from complete, we opted to upload the available images and data online as we acquire them, rather than wait for years until we have a full representation of the fauna.
At present, many of the species carry only a preliminary identification. As it becomes possible, we will verify the names with specimens determined by expert taxonomists (see below).
The site offers two types of images: digital photos of live insects and flatbed scans of prepared specimens. Whenever possible, we took the specimen images of fresh insects with the living colors intact.
The Odonate Fauna
While the total number of species listed for the country is just over 300 (Paulson 2010), we expect that this number is still quite low, simply due to a lack of thorough collecting and because many unpublished records exist in private collections.
Costa Rica, with one fifth the land area of Ecuador, has about 290 species of odonates(Haber 2010). For other taxa, such as butterflies, birds and orchids, Ecuador supports twice or more the number of species found in Costa Rica. Perhaps part of this difference is due to better collecting in Costa Rica.
Also, Ecuador is much richer in water resources, especially standing water microhabitats such as swamps, ponds, lakes and oxbow lagoons. In addition, the climate of eastern Ecuador is less seasonal than Costa Rica's, with the result that these water sources are generally more permanent and less subject to seasonal drying. The range in elevation is also much greater in Ecuador. Considering these characteristics of habitat diversity, we suspect that Ecuador's odonate fauna should reach above 500 species.
The known fauna of Ecuador consists of 14 families, with 10 families of damselflies and four of dragonflies. These vary greatly in species richness from a single species in the family Dicteriadidae to more than 100 species in the Libellulidae.
The smallest damselflies (e.g., Ischnura capreolus, Coenagrionidae) are about 2 cm in total body length, while the largest reach more than 11 cm (e.g., Megaloprepus caerulatus, Pseudostigmatidae). The smallest dragonflies have a wingspan of about 2 cm (Libellulidae), and the largest reach about 13 cm (Aeshnidae).
The support of many others facilitated this project. We want to thank them for their help.
Taxonomists who have identified specimens: Natalia von Ellenrieder, Rosser Garrison, and Dennis Paulson
Collaborators with field work: Geert Goemans, Jim Miller, Fred Morrison, Elicio Tapia, Mike Thomas, and Ronald Vargas.
Collaborators at Universidad Católica (PUCE): Profesor Álvaro Barragán, Profesor Cliff Keil, Natalia Andrade, Emilia Moreno, Giovanni Ramón.
Dr. Giovanni Onore.
Electronic Field Guide Project:
Updated: 8 January 2012