Dragonflies fly in straight sharp lines while their easily mistaken cousins – damselflies, flutter.
Dragonflies are very hungry predators, especially the larvae, and can eat most living things smaller than they are.
They are used as medicine in Japan and as food in Indonesia.
There are about 3,000 species of dragonflies in the world today.
“It’s complicated”- their mating and reproduction involve indirect insemination and delayed fertilization.
A clutch of eggs laid by the female can have up to 1,500(!) eggs.
Huge fossils of ancient dragonfly species are found from 325 million years ago.
Being cold-blooded, they love sunbathing and they raise their temperature by basking in the early morning sun.
While they are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness in Japan, they are a bad omen in European fairytales.
Dragonflies are cosmopolitan – they live on every continent except Antarctica.
An adult dragonfly eye has nearly 24,000 ommatidia. (If you wonder what that is, so did we – small photoreceptors that make insect eyes.)
Dragonflies may look all nice and colorful, but they are extremely territorial, especially males and ward off against most other insect species.
While they make love, they can fly in tandem forming a heart-shaped posture.
They start feasting by decapitating their prey and digesting their head first!
Their beautiful colors are an inspiration for poetic giants like Tennyson and Bates.
It is not only Europeans that admire dragonflies – they are a favorite topic of Japanese haiku poetry, too.
Luminous colors on their wings and bodies are a result of structured coloration that manifests in flight and in movement.
Dragonflies are attracted to shiny surfaces that they can easily mistake for water, and lay eggs on polished gravestones, solar panels and automobiles.
They are strong and fast fliers, capable of flying across huge water surfaces and suddenly changing their way in six different flight directions.
Their greatest enemy is – you guessed it – humans. Many uncategorized species are being destroyed along with rainforest destruction.