Before taking to the sky, damselflies, and their close relatives the dragonflies, develop in still water such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and bogs. The nymphs are predatory like their adult counterparts, capturing aquatic invertebrates, with larger species even capturing small fish and tadpoles. They typically use a sit-and-wait technique in combination with a surprising weapon. When prey is in striking distance, nymphs rapidly extend their arm-like lower lips (labia), which have grasping jaws at their tips. 

Damselfy or dragonfly nymph? “Damselfly nymphs are slender and have three long, blade-like gills attached to the abdomen tip. Dragonfly nymphs are thicker and have gills tucked out of sight, inside the rectum” (Pacific Northwest Insects).  

Photo by: Deziah Gilliam on 6/15/21 in Canyon Creek, MT