Fresh water is a vital part of their lives just like humans. They existed one hundred million years before the dinosaurs. Some look like stained glass while others have a metallic color. They live underwater for the first part of their lives and then emerge onto land and live about seven months. This is the Dragonfly.
When Dragonflies mate they join together in a way that kind of resembles a circle. While still attached to the male some females will lay her ½ mm eggs under water attaching them to a plant or a leaf. Some females lay their eggs alone. Some species lay their eggs in rocks between crevices. Then the rain will wash the eggs into water, where the eggs will live for the first part of their life. The amount of eggs varies between species. They lay between 50 to several thousand eggs at a time.
The larvae are called nymphs. The nymphs can live in the water anywhere from a few months to a few years. Under the water they are predators that devour small fish and tadpoles.
Once they are ready to leave the water they use a reed or grass to emerge out of the water. Once they are on land they shed their skin, it starts to tear right under the head and they sit for about an hour while their blood pumps through their body and forms the two sets of wings.
The Dragonflies wings are coated with a substance that is waxy, so that dust doesn’t affect them. Also so water runs off during a rainstorm. If a dragonfly falls into water it usually can’t get out. A Dragonfly can move each of its four wings independently. This helps the dragonfly to be able to fly straight, up or down, stop and hover, as well as backwards.They can also make hairpin turns. They are skilled fliers. They fly in different styles depending on the species.
Dragonflies are one of the most successful life forms on our planet. They use 80% of their brain. They are merciless predators. They catch their prey while in flight. They hunt anything they can overpower even their own species.
A Dragonflies wings beat at about 30 flaps a second making a sizzling sound. They can fly more than fifty miles an hour as they care for their own territory. They have been known to fly 130 kilometers per hour with a tail wind this has been measured by science.
There are over 3000 species of known dragonflies and still there are 100 to maybe even 1000 species that are not known. They are found on every continent. Dragonflies have been found in uninhabitable places such as the Sahara Desert. They have even been seen 550 kilometers from land in the ocean.
A Globe Skimmer will travel 11,000 miles between India and Africa to migrate. This making it the longest migration of all insects in the world. A dragonflies large multifaceted eyes have 30 thousand honeycomb eyes within each eye they can see every direction except directly behind them.
Dragonflies were here before the Dinosaurs there have been dragonfly fossils found to prove their existence from that time. Ancient Egyptians drew images of Dragonflies on the tombs over 3400 years ago.
Dragonflies are 80 times older than humans. They first were on earth 320 million years ago. In the time of Pangea, the dragonfly still looked the same 300 million years ago except in the size of the insect.The giant dragonflies of the carboniferous period Meganisoptera Griffinflies had a wingspan of 70 cm. Long (only traces of fossils were found) this is about the size of a pigeon this is 3 times larger than the Stephaneotypus a griffinfly 40 c. across about as big as a modern day robin.
200 million years ago during the Jurassic period, there were Ginkgo plants that produced a sap like resin that fell from the plant and a dragonfly would get stuck in the resin then forming an amber encasement around the dragonfly. These were washed up on the Baltic and Mediterranean sea shores. This proves that dragonflies have barely changed over the ages. Their body is nearly perfect. Their entire body is made of armor called kiting. Dragonflies will defend their territory against any intruder. They battle for supremacy.
Scientists have tried to collect dragonflies however, they turn transparent when they die therefore they can’t do much with them because of no color. That is why most scientists collect butterflies because they don’t lose their pigment when they die.
Autumn and Winter are the enemy when it comes to dragonflies. Once a dragonfly comes out of the nymph stage and becomes an adult they live a maximum of 7 months. Very few survive winter. Then the cycle begins again the following year when it gets warm enough for them to emerge from the water. Even if the larvae are ready to come out in winter they will wait until spring to emerge.
The Dragonfly has been one of my favorite insects. I love the way they just seem to dance when they fly by. Their transparent wings are beautiful, they are great to have around the garden to keep other insects away. Many people love dragonflies and whether it is art or a statue they make great gifts.
These are just a few of the facts about dragonflies that I didn’t know much about until now. I hope you found this article useful. Please let me know if you have anything you would like to add and if you have questions I would be glad to answer them in the comments below.
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