Damselfly

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The general body plan of a damselfly is similar to that of a dragonfly. The compound eyes are large but are more widely separated and relatively smaller than those of a dragonfly. Above the eyes is the frons or forehead, below this the clypeus, and on the upper lip the labrum, an extensible organ used in the capture of prey. The top of the head bears three simple eyes (ocelli), which may measure light intensity, and a tiny pair of antennae that serve no olfactory function but may measure air speed. Many species are sexually dimorphic; the males are often brightly coloured and distinctive, while the females are plainer, cryptically coloured, and harder to identify to species. For example, in Coenagrion, the Eurasian bluets, the males are bright blue with black markings, while the females are usually predominantly green or brown with black. A few dimorphic species show female-limited polymorphism, the females being in two forms, one form distinct and the other with the patterning as in males. The ones that look like males, andromorphs, are usually under a third of the female population but the proportion can rise significantly and a theory that explains this response suggests that it helps overcome harassment by males. Some Coenagrionid damselflies show male-limited polymorphism, an even less understood phenomenon.