Amazing Facts

Interesting Facts About Dragonflies

You see them in your yard, in the woods, and in fields. They come in a
variety of beautiful colors. But what do you really know about the
dragonflies that share our world? After reading this compilation of
interesting dragonfly facts ... you'll know a lot.

21 Interesting Facts

  1. Despite their name, dragonflies are not related to common flies.
    In fact, they are part of an entirely different order of insects.
    Dragonflies are part of the Odonata order, which also
    includes damselflies.

  2. Worldwide, the Odonata order of insects (dragonflies and
    damselflies) includes more than 5000  individual species. They exist in
    many countries around the world. Within the United States, there are
    about 400 species of Odonata.

  3. You often see dragonflies near bodies of water (ponds, lakes and
    slow-moving streams) because they lay their eggs on or near the water.

  4. Dragonfly young (nymphs) have a special appendage on their head
    that they use as a spear to catch small fish. They are predatory
    insects from birth.

  5. Dragonflies are not born with wings. They are born in a larvae
    state and eventually go through a partial metamorphosis process, during
    which they grow their wings.

  6. Dragonflies spend most of their lives in the larva stage (up to
    three years, depending on the species). The adult, winged stage only
    lasts a few weeks. Mating is the primary reason for their winged stage.
    So when you see a winged dragonfly, you know it's toward the end of its
    lifespan. Sad but true.

  7. Male dragonflies can be very territorial, staking claim to a
    particular area alongside a pond or stream. When you see two adults
    chasing each other through the air, it is often one male chasing
    another from its territory.

  8. When you see two dragonflies flying through the air attached to
    one another, it is almost always a male and female mating.

  9. Dragonflies will sometimes travel in swarms, which may be related
    to weather changes such as the passage of cold fronts.

  10. Dragonflies prey on other creatures through their entire life
    cycle. As larva in bodies of water, they prey on other small creatures
    (mosquito larva, tiny fish, etc.). As adults, they eat other flying

  11. Dragonflies can be useful in controlling mosquito populations.
    Mosquitoes are one of their primary food sources!

  12. Dragonflies are ancient insects. They have existed on Planet
    Earth for approximately 300 million years. Today, they look very much
    like they did in "dinosaur times," though they have gradually gotten
    smaller since then.

  13. The largest dragonfly fossil (one of the earliest) had a wingspan
    of nearly three feet. That makes it the largest flying insect in known

  14. Dragonflies have two pairs of wings. The wings are mostly
    transparent and move very fast, so it often appears that they have more
    than two pairs.

  15. The front wings of the dragonfly are slightly longer than the
    rear wings. This helps with both speed and maneuverability.

  16. Though many people fear them, dragonflies cause no harm to humans
    whatsoever. They are often curious toward humans and will fly around
    you for that reason, but they do not sting or bite.

  17. Though dragonflies are essentially harmless to humans, there were
    many spooky legends about them in the past (some of which still
    remain). For example, people used to believe that sleeping outside put
    you at risk of having your eyes sewn shut by the dragonfly or "darning

  18. One of the most distinguishing features of dragonflies are their
    eyes. They have large, compound eyes with many facets or sides.

  19. Because of their large, multifaceted eyes, the adult dragonfly
    can see nearly 360 degrees around it at all times.

  20. Though you can't see them all with the naked eye, the compound
    eyes of the dragonfly can contain thousands of tiny lenses.

  21. As far as insects go, dragonflies are among the fastest. Some of
    the faster species can fly upward of 30 miles per hour. Their four
    wings also allow them to move sideways, backward, to hover in place,
    etc. And they can do all of these movements quickly and accurately,
    which makes them well suited to eat other insects right out of the air.

The goal of this fact sheet is to help you enjoy the beauty of
dragonflies when you encounter them in the wild (and in not-so-wild
places like your own backyard).

Related Tags: Insects  Flies  Fact  
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