Ever Versatile, Ever the Hunter…

Dragonfly facts for kids and adults

blue dragonfly
dragonfly eyes
dragonfly at rest

Natures helicopter, but even more in terms of maneuverability and agility. The dragonflies wings make this all possible, made of veins and membrane and having a incredible load-bearing capacity.

Dragonflies flap their wings to get airborne and to gain speed but they are also capable of gliding and hovering. The wings also bend in flight which helps facilitate its aerodynamic properties. For the more technical readers, more details on this is available in the Science Direct site following this link.

Female dragonflies lay their eggs near or in water, most often on plants. A clutch of eggs may be as many as 1500 eggs which hatch within about a week. From the eggs are born aquatic nymphs moulting between 6 and 15 times before fully developed. During this time they are voracious eaters pretty much eating anything smaller than themselves which could even include tadpoles and small fish, not to mention other dragonfly nymphs!.

The dragonfly nymph could last for up to four years depending on the species of which there are approximately 5000 different species world wide. Unlike other insects such as butterflies, the dragonfly does not have a pupa stage but goes from the larva/nymph directly to adult. when the nymph is ready to complete its metamorphosis it crawls out of the water, up a plant stem. There, the nymph emerges from its skin as a new dragonfly which can expect to live, on average for about two months.

dragonfly nymph
dragonfly nymph case
Dragonfly nymph case. One can see where the dragonfly exited via the hole in the back, just behind the thorax. (Photo by Ian Lindsay via Pixabay).

The dragonfly creates a basket with its legs and is capable of out-flying pretty much any other insects. It catches the insect in its legs and then bites it and swallows the remains while still in flight. Dragonflies eat pretty much anything they can catch such as mosquitoes, gnats, bees and even butterflies. another amazing this is the dragonflies ability to consume its own weight in prey in just 30 minutes!

Dragonflies can see almost 360 degrees but barring a space behind their head.

They have two large compound eyes each with thousands of lenses and three eyes with simple lenses. Dragonflies can see ultraviolet light as well as polarized light.

with this observation ability combined with its incredible flying abilities and crushing jaws, it not surprising that the dragonfly catches in the region of 95% of the prey it aims for !

2 replies on “Ever Versatile, Ever the Hunter…”

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