The status and trends of global biodiversity are often measured with a bias towards datasets limited to terrestrial vertebrates. The first global assessment of an insect order (Odonata) provides new context to the ongoing discussion of current biodiversity loss. A randomly selected sample of 1500 (26.4%) of the 5680 described dragonflies and damselflies was assessed using IUCN’s Red List criteria. Distribution maps for each species were created and species were assigned to habitat types. These data were analysed in respect to threat level for regions and habitat types. We have found that one in 10 species of dragonflies and damselflies is threatened with extinction. This threat level is among the lowest of groups that have been assessed to date, suggesting that previous estimates of extinction risk for insects might be misleading. However, Odonata only comprise a small invertebrate order, with above-average dispersal ability and relatively wide distribution ranges. For conservation science and policy to be truly representative of global biodiversity a representative cross-section of invertebrates needs to be included.