You may have heard that if a dragonfly lands on your head that it is good luck. That is because they are the symbol of luck in many places. Dragonflies are fast fliers. They are fantastic hunters with good eyesight. There are so many interesting facts to learn about these ancient insects!
Interesting Dragonfly Facts
Here are several interesting facts about dragonflies. They have been around for a long time and they have interesting ways to adapt to their habitats.
- There are 5,0000 different species of dragonflies. The dragonfly species has been around for 300 million years.
- Dragonflies beat their wings about 30 times each second.
- Did you know that dragonflies eat 30 to 100 mosquitoes each day?
- The dragonfly is one of the first winged insects.
- If you ever see a dragonfly with the bottom of its body sticking up in the air, it is trying to regulate its body temperature. The sun will shine on the small tip of the abdomen instead of the whole thing. This helps it to stay cooler and not get too hot.
- People in Indonesia like to eat dragonflies for a snack.
- The hobby of dragonfly watching is called oding.
Dragonfly Life Cycle
Dragonflies can live up to a year. However, they don’t spend very much time as an adult dragonfly. They spend most of their time in the larval stage.
Female dragonflies lay their eggs near or in water. The female dragonfly will lay its eggs on a surface such as a plant or even in the water.
Next, the eggs hatch into dragonfly nymphs. Nymphs are considered baby dragonflies. In the nymph stage, the baby dragonfly stays under the water and eats aquatic insects, mosquito larvae, and small fish. Nymphs do not have wings. The larval stage of large dragonflies may last as long as five years. For smaller species of dragonfly, it may last anywhere from two months to three years. When it is time for the dragonfly larvae to change into an adult it climbs out of the water. It starts to breathe the air.
The adult forms when the nymph is fully grown. Next, the skin splits behind the head and an adult dragonfly crawls out. The adult stage lasts a just a few months and then the cycle begins again. The adult dragonfly mates and then the female dragonfly lands and lays eggs.
Characteristics of a Dragonfly
You may have seen a dragonfly up close or flying by. Its bright colors get your attention as it whizzes by. You might be wondering what makes a dragonfly special. Here are the characteristics of a dragonfly that are special.
Dragonflies have 4 strong transparent wings (transparent means clear). These sets of wings make dragonflies expert fliers. They can fly between 15 and 40 miles per hour. That’s fast!
Have you ever seen a helicopter or a drone fly? That is how dragonflies fly. They can hover, move straight up and down, left and right and even backwards. If it gets too cold, they can’t fly.
The average dragonfly has a wingspan of 2-5 inches. The smallest dragonflies have a wingspan of 20 mm. Fossils of dragonflies show that they had wingspans of up to 2 feet wide a long long time ago. That’s really huge!
Their large compound eyes are a unique feature that dragonflies have. With their large eyes they can see better than humans. They have about 30,000 lenses which means the dragonfly can see almost all the way around itself. Their big eyes can even see UV light! That’s like a super power.
A dragonfly has 6 legs, but it actually can’t walk. It uses his legs to perch and catch its prey. That is really different from other insects.
A dragonfly has 3 body parts. They are head, thorax, abdomen. Its long body includes two antennae. The male dragonflies are usually the most colorful. They can be yellow, brown, blue, and red.
Where do dragonflies live?
Dragonflies can be found near water like streams, lakes, and ponds. Most prefer fresh water and not salt water. There are a few dragonfly species like the seaside dragonlet that can live near the salty water of the ocean. Dragonflies can be found in most parts of the world. They are everywhere except in Antartica. Groups of dragonflies are called swarms. They eat water insects.
What Do Dragonflies Eat?
Adult dragonflies eat other flying insects. They eat small insects like mosquitoes, flies, bees, and ants. Dragonflies actually catch their prey with their feet while flying. They use their teeth to rip their prey into pieces while they are flying. Flying and eating at the same time is a special talent that dragonflies have.
What Eats Dragonflies?
Birds, spiders, frogs, and bats will eat dragonflies. Larger dragonflies will also snack on smaller dragonflies.
Dragonflies Help People
How do dragonflies help people? Besides being fun to watch and pretty to look at, they help us a lot. They help by eating insects that can bother us such as mosquitos and flies. Keeping the population of those insects down is really helpful.