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Dragonflies are insects that have long bodies, transparent wings, and large eyes. There are over 5,000 species of dragonflies that are part of the scientific infraorder called Anisoptera.
Because dragonflies are insects they have 6 legs, a thorax, a head, and an abdomen. The abdomen is long and segmented. Despite having 6 legs, the dragonfly doesn't walk very well. It is a great flyer, however. Dragonflies can hover in one place, fly extremely fast, and even fly backwards. They are some of the fastest flying insects in the world reaching speeds of over 30 miles per hour.
Dragonflies come in a variety of colors including blue, green, yellow, and red. They are some of the most colorful insects on the planet. They also come in a range of sizes from half an inch long to over 5 inches long.
Where do dragonflies live?
Dragonflies live throughout the world. They like to live in warm climates and near the water.
What do they eat?
One of the best things about dragonflies is that they like to eat mosquitoes and gnats. They are carnivores and eat all types of other insects too including cicadas, flies, and even other smaller dragonflies.
To catch their prey, dragonflies create a basket with their legs. They then swoop in capturing their prey with their legs and biting it to hold it in place. They will often eat what they have caught while they are still flying.
In order to see predators and their food dragonflies have large compound eyes. These eyes are made up of thousands of smaller eyes and allow the dragonfly to see in all directions.
Fun Facts About Dragonflies
- Dragonflies don't sting and generally don't bite people.
- They have been around for 300 million years. Prehistoric dragonflies were much larger and could have a wingspan of 2 ½ feet!
- When first hatched, the larva or nymphs live in the water for around a year. Once they leave the water and begin to fly, they only live for around a month.
- People in Indonesia like to eat them for a snack.
- Having a dragonfly land on your head is considered good luck.
- They are not really related to common flies.
- Groups of dragonflies are called swarms.
- Watching dragonflies, similar to bird watching, is called oding which comes from the order classification odonata.
- Predators that eat dragonflies include fish, ducks, birds, and water beetles.
- They need to warm up in the sun during the morning before taking off and flying for most of the day.
For more about insects:
Insects and Arachnids
Black Widow Spider
Yellow Jacket Wasp
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