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Fun Dragonfly Facts You Need to Know

Are you fascinated by the beautiful dragonflies? Read this article to know interesting and fun facts about dragonflies that you were not aware of earlier.

Many flying insects are pesky, annoying, and so odd-looking that they can send chills to your spine. Most people are scared of wasp stings and flying cockroaches. Mosquitoes and flies are disgusting and can transmit diseases, unlike these flying insects,  friendly and beautiful insects like dragonflies, butterflies, and ladybirds.

Dragonflies are very captivating, and their transparent patterned wings look surreal. Moreover, they feed on annoying pests like midges and mosquitoes, so you could say they are also pretty helpful. This article will discuss the fun and intriguing facts about fireflies that you may not have known earlier.

Dragonflies Are Ancient and Have Significant Prehistoric Value

Dragonflies prevailed in the air long before dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Griffenflies (Meganisoptera), the giant ancestors of today’s dragonflies, had wingspans of over two feet and littered the skies around 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous period. So if you have a friend who loves history and evolution or entomology, giving them dragonfly gifts can be a thoughtful gesture.

Dragonflies Can Catch Prey Midair

Dragonflies do not chase their prey. They calculate their aerial ambush and catch their prey from the air. These majestic insects can speculate the trajectory and speed of their targeted prey. They adjust their stance and wing accordingly and attack at the perfect time.

They snag their prey very quickly. You could so they come out of nowhere when they are about to catch their prey mid-air. Their incredible skills and abilities let them have a 95% success rate in hunting. Their prey is usually gnats, midges, mosquitoes, and other small insects.

Dragonflies Have Very Sharp Mandibles

The hunting approach of dragonflies is awe-inspiring, but their ability to rip their prey apart takes their predatory capabilities to the next level. The order Odonata means “toothed ones.” This group includes dragonflies and damselflies. Their serrated mandibles are the basis for the name.

Dragonflies hunt by catching prey with their feet, tearing off the prey’s wings with their strong mandibles so it can’t flee, then devouring the unfortunate insect without having to land. Fortunately, dragonflies cannot bite people.

The vast majority of their species lack mandibles capable of breaking our skin. Only larger species can bite, and when they do, it is only a defense mechanism. Hence, there’s no reason to be concerned when you encounter a dragonfly.

Nymph Dragonflies Live in Water

Dragonflies and damselflies are mostly found around ponds and lakes for a reason: they are aquatic! Female dragonflies lay their eggs on the surface of the water or, in certain situations, in aquatic moss or plants. After hatching, the dragonflies nymphs spend most of their time hunting other aquatic insects.

Larger species have been known to eat tiny fish or tadpoles. A dragonfly nymph is ready for maturity after molting around six to fifteen times and crawling out of the water to shed its final skin.

Dragonfly Nymphs Breathe Through Their Anus

You read that right; nymph dragonflies breathe through their anus. The rectum of the damselfly nymph has gills that allow it to breathe. The dragonfly nymph, likewise, draws water into its anus to support gas exchange. The spirit propels itself forward when it expels water, giving it the advantage of motility in addition to its breathing.

Dragonflies Have Impeccable Vision

Dragonflies have exceptional eyesight compared to other insects, which allows them to detect the movement of other flying bugs and avoid collisions while in flight. The dragonfly has approximately 360° vision and can see a broader spectrum of colors than humans because of their two large compound eyes.

A dragonfly’s compound eye has 28,000 lenses or ommatidia. For processing all of the visual data a dragonfly receives, it takes around 80% of its brain.

Male Dragonflies Possess Multiple Sex Organs

The male sex organs are found at the tip of the stomach in almost all insects. In male dragonflies, however, this is not the case. Their copulatory organs are located on the bottom of the stomach, between the second and third abdominal segments. Dragonfly sperm, on the other hand, is kept in a hole in the ninth abdominal segment. To transport his sperm to his penis, the dragonfly must fold his abdomen before mating.

Male Dragonflies Compete for Territories

Male dragonflies fight fiercely to keep other suitors away from females because competition for females is intense. Males in some species claim and defend territories against intruding males. Petal tails, club tails, and skimmers scour ponds for ideal egg-laying spots.

If a challenger flies into his selected habitat, the defending male will do everything he can to chase him away. Other types of dragonflies do not necessarily defend certain territories, but they nonetheless act violently toward other males that dare to approach their perches or cross their flight routes.

Some Dragonflies Migrate

Several dragonfly species have been observed migrating, either solitary or in groups. Dragonflies, like other migratory species, migrate to follow or discover essential supplies, as well as to respond to environmental changes like oncoming cold weather. For instance, green darners travel north in the spring after migrating south in large swarms each fall.

The globe skimmer is one of several species known to spawn in the transitory freshwater pools; it set a new insect world record when a researcher tracked its 11,000-mile journey between India and Africa, forced to follow the rains that refill its breeding habitats.

Dragonflies Can Thermoregulate Their Bodies

Dragonflies are officially ectotherms; in other words, they are cold-blooded like other insects. However, that does not imply they rely on Mother Nature to keep themselves warm or cool. To elevate their body temperatures, patrolling dragonflies (those that often fly back and forth) use a fast whirring action of their wings.

On the other hand, perching dragonflies rely on solar radiation for warmth, and strategically arrange their bodies to maximize the surface area exposed to the sun. Some species utilize their wings as reflectors, tilting them to direct sunlight toward their bodies. During hot periods, however, some dragonflies position themselves strategically to reduce sun exposure by deflecting the sunlight with their wings.

Final Words

When learning about bugs and butterflies, it is imperative to know about dragonflies. The iridescent bodies and the beautifully patterned transparent wings of dragonflies are quite captivating. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, they are pretty friendly and harmless to humans. They eat mosquitoes and other pesky bugs, making our lives more comfortable.

These aerial insects have phenomenal flight and hunting skills paired with exceptional vision. They are one of the most magnificent insects in the world.

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