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In association with Acadia Learning we present this dichotomous key that will help you identify larval dragonflies (Order: Odonata, Suborder: Anisoptera) of the northeastern U.S. to the family level. There are seven families in the Northeast (but one is quite rare).

This site includes:
  • The key itself, which guides you through identification of a dragonfly larva (or nymph) using questions and photos. The key begins with a quick check of other aquatic invertebrates, to make sure you’re on the right track with your specimen.

  • A diagram so that you can identify the various parts of the larval dragonfly’s anatomy. You can refer to it while you are using the key, without losing your place.

  • A glossary that lists terms that are underlined throughout these pages. Click any underlined word to see its definition.

  • If you wish to identify your specimen further – to genus or species – or to find other resources about dragonflies, see our Links page.
Have everything you need? Ready to start identifying larvae? Then hit the button and let's begin!