Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Dragonflies

Posted by  //  July 16, 2018  //  Articles, Creature Feature

There are over 5,000 species of dragonflies living all across the globe.  They belong to the scientific order classification called “odonata,” and have been around for 300 million years.  Dragonflies come in many beautiful colors and various sizes. In fact, some are over 5 inches long. While they don’t sting and rarely bite people, all dragonflies are predatory and eat pests like mosquitoes, gnats and flies.  They have two, large compound eyes, with each made up of thousands of tiny eyes, allowing the dragonfly to see in all directions. Like hummingbirds, dragonflies can fly remarkably fast — reaching speeds of over 30 mph — and can hover in place and fly backwards.  These capabilities enable the dragonfly to overtake its prey, grasping and trapping it in a “basket” formed with its own legs. The victim is immobilized with a bite and often eaten while the dragonfly is still on the wing.

Here are a few more fun facts about dragonflies:

  • Some prehistoric dragonflies had a wingspan of 2-1/2 feet.  Yikes!

  • Newly hatched dragonfly larvae and nymphs live in the water for a year or so before emerging.

  • Once they can fly, they’ll only live for a month or so.

  • Dragonflies must warm themselves in morning sunlight before taking off to spend the day flying.

If you have a dragonfly hovering around you, don’t be scared.  Be grateful. It’s like having a personal body guard against biting pests!

Article & photo of a Blue Dasher dragonfly by Margie Manthey

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