According to etymologists and biology experts, dragonflies began to fly around marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water more than 350 million years ago. Dragonflies are classified as prehistoric insects and they belong to the family of Odonata. They are closely related to their cousins, the damselflies. According to experts, dragonflies come in more than three thousand species and are widely present in almost all continents of the world. The following are some awesome facts about dragonflies that would surely fascinate you.
- Damselflies are often mistaken as dragonflies
The Odonata family comes with only two species namely dragonfly and damselfly. These two insects look almost the same. But to help you tell the difference easily, a dragonfly has four wings while a damselfly has two. During rests, a dragonfly often spreads its wings while a damselfly tucks its wings. A damselfly has separate eyes while a dragonfly has eyes that are close together.
- Dragonflies vs. Dinosaurs: Dragonflies are much older
If you wish to turn back some three hundred million years ago, you may see the Meganisoptera or Griffinflies. These are known as the dragonfly ancestors. However, you might get scared and terrified if you see one particular dragonfly species of the Paleozoic era, the Megatypus. Based on its name, the Megatypus has an alarming size with a wingspan that measures 70 centimeters or 28 inches!
- Dragonflies are present in most places on earth
Certain species often stay in one particular place. For example, the emperor Anax species are widely found in the Americas, from Argentina’s southernmost tip up to Newfoundland, Canada. The Globe Skimmer species are often found in warmer places around the world.
- Dragonflies’ larvae dwell underwater
The larva of a dragonfly is commonly known as a nymph. This is somewhat a fitting name because nymphs are known as spirits that have the power to live underwater. Thus, the nymphs of dragonflies are commonly seen dwelling in streams, rivers, lakes, and the like.
- Dragonflies are skillful in terms of flying
Dragonflies are powerful flyers because they are capable of migrating and crossing the seas. Dragonflies can fly in various directions and changes in directions and movements can be done instantly. They can fly at a speed of 22 to 34 miles per hour. The giant darner, an Australian dragonfly species, was known to fly as fast as 60 miles per hour.
- Dragonflies are efficient hunters
Dragonflies are known to be carnivorous. The adult dragonflies are strong and efficient predators. They often catch and feed on other insects like moths, flies, mosquitoes, and even dragonflies that are smaller in size. Due to their speed and agility, dragonflies can catch their prey at a stunning rate of 95 percent. They are capable of capturing their prey using their feet while flying.
- Dragonflies are considered evil by the western culture
People in Europe call dragonflies by different names but there is one thing that these names have in common: they all mean sinister or evil. These names include “eye-poker” by the Norwegians, “eye-snatcher” by the Portuguese, and “devil’s darning needle” by the North Americans.
- Dragonflies are Not Evil Everywhere, Though
In Japan, dragonflies are treated with a high regard and respect. Japanese people consider these insects as a symbol of success, strength, courage, and happiness.
- The eyes of a dragonfly are a sight worth looking at
Like the flies, dragonflies have eyes that are made up of thousands of lenses that gather and take information from the surroundings. They can see almost 360 degrees. The only blind spot of dragonflies is the direction just behind them.