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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Dragonfly Facts

One of the best dragonfly facts is that dragonflies have inspired scientists and engineers to make robots with their flying skills.

Dragonflies are one of the most common flying insect species, belonging to the order Odonata, and the family Anisoptera. Sometimes these flying insects are mistaken for similar-looking insect species known as damselflies (Zygoptera), which are similar in structure. Adult dragonflies can be characterized by a set of wings that are transparent in color and have colored patches, a pair of multiple compound eyes, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are among the most predatory insects both in their aquatic larvae stage (when they are also known as a dragonfly nymph or as naiads) and in their adult stage. Dragonflies can hover in the air and they are very fast and agile fliers, sometimes seen migrating across oceans, to live near water.

They have a very complex process of reproduction that involves indirect insemination, delayed fertilization, and sperm competition. The wings of dragonflies are made of membranes and veins which come with a high load-bearing capacity, allowing them to fly, glide, and hover, and making them agile fliers.

Keep reading to learn about dragonfly eggs, dragonfly eyes (which are described as compound eyes) dragonfly wing structures, a dragonfly bite, and more! For more animal facts, check out our guides to the red paper wasp and the ladybird.

Dragonfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dragonfly?

Dragonflies are flying insects that belong to the order Odonata and the family Anisoptera.

What class of animal does a dragonfly belong to?

Like other insects, dragonflies belong to the classification Insecta.

How many dragonflies are there in the world?

The exact number of dragonflies present in the world is not known.

Where does a dragonfly live?

Dragonflies can be found in several places around the globe, but you can see them living most commonly in warm areas. The only continent they can't be found in is Antarctica.

What is a dragonfly's habitat?

For the entirety of the dragonfly lifespan, they are found around water, so one of the best-known dragonfly habitat facts is that it is very common to find them near swamps, lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. The species are freshwater inhabitants but they can also often be found flying near or perched in fields, pastures, and clearings.

Who do dragonflies live with?

Dragonflies mostly fly in large groups. This is called a dragonfly swarm.

How long does a dragonfly live?

Dragonflies spend most of their lifespan in the larvae stage, and as adults, they tend to live for just one or two months. Despite this generalization, the life expectancy of adult dragonflies is usually dependent on the environment in which they live.

How do they reproduce?

Both male and female dragonflies can have several mates and males are the ones who come to females for mating and, after the entrance of females into the breeding grounds, males carry out breeding rituals. These can involve raising his abdomen for the female to identify him. There is the option for the female to reject the male, which can be shown by curving the abdomen downward.

After breeding, females lay eggs in a plant nearby and they create a nest-like cavity using their ovipositor. Males guard females either by staying physically attached to them while the female lays her eggs or by separating and perching nearby to chase away any intruders.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these dragonflies is Not Extinct.

Dragonfly Fun Facts

What do dragonflies look like?

Dragonflies are among one of the most colorful species of insects. Mostly dragonfly wings are transparent and their body can be seen in different colors such as blue and brown coloring. Males are often more brightly colored than females. Males can be differentiated by the presence of blue stripes on their sides and the top of their brown thorax. There is also a deep indentation that can be seen on the front of their thorax, and their abdomen is brown with blue markings. Females are slightly more dull in color, but they still often have blue, green, and yellow colorings. Sometimes blue females are also mistaken for males because of their blue coloring. Females also have green lateral thoracic stripes, blue lateral abdominal spots, and green dorsal abdominal spots.

Dragonflies need to warm up in the sun before taking a flight in the day.

How cute are they?

Dragonflies are quite cute insects and watching them grow from baby dragonfly larvae into a red dragonfly, blue dragonfly, green dragonfly, black dragonfly, or even an orange dragonfly can be quite cute!

How do they communicate?

Dragonflies in general use their wings and body color to communicate with each other. This is mostly done during the courtship period. They also have very good vision, allowing their communication to be very accurate.

How big is a dragonfly?

These dragonflies aren't very big insects at all, whether that is at the larvae stage or as an adult. As adult dragonflies, they are between 2.7-2.9 in (68-74 mm) long.

How fast can a dragonfly fly?

Generally, dragonflies can fly with a maximum speed of 22–34 mph (36–54 kmph). Their average speed is 9.9 mph (16 kmph).

How much does a dragonfly weigh?

An average dragonfly weighs just 0.014 oz (0.4 g). A giant dragonfly will weigh slightly more than this.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female dragonflies.

What would you call a baby dragonfly?

A baby dragonfly is called a nymph or larvae, depending on the stage of the dragonfly life cycle that they are at.

What do they eat?

Dragonflies (scientific name: Anisoptera) are insectivores by nature and they are skilled predators of a variety of insects. Dragonfly larvae are also pretty skilled predators. When it comes to eating some of their main prey are flatworms, leeches, fish eggs, zooplankton, and fish larvae. Adults like to eat and capture prey while in flight, including spiders, damselflies, butterflies, other dragonflies, and various other insects.

Are they dangerous?

No dragonflies aren't dangerous to humans in any way. A dragonfly bite is not dangerous to humans and probably won't break human skin.

Would they make a good pet?

No, you cannot keep pet dragonflies as all different dragonfly species are predators that belong in the world.

Did you know...

In some dragonfly species, the nymphal stage can last up to five years, and on the contrary, the adult stage often lasts just 10 weeks. Sometimes, the adult lifespan lasts just five weeks or less, and some survive for only a few days.

One of the best dragonfly facts for kids is that in some parts of the world, the dragonfly has an important meaning. Dragonfly symbolism involved strength and courage, with the dragonfly spiritual meaning in Japan seen as a sign of courage, strength, and happiness. However, in European folklore, it is seen as a more sinister animal. You shouldn't kill a dragonfly, as is believed to bring bad luck.

Do dragonflies sleep?

Yes, they do sleep. However, this is a dormancy type of sleep and they can be disturbed easily.

What does it mean when a dragonfly lands on you?

If a dragonfly insect sits on your hand it can be seen as a sign of good luck. This is a very positive dragonfly meaning, have you ever been lucky enough to see any dragonfly species in their natural habitats?

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the snow flea, or the Mydas fly.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our dragonfly coloring pages.

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