The Buzz on Dragonflies
A favorite motif in Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods, as well as an enduring sight throughout history, the dragonfly is an ancient creature. Predating dinosaurs by 100 million years, the dragonfly is known to have flown through earth’s skies relatively unchanged in structure and appearance for more than 300 million years.
Dragonfly Fast Facts
The study of dragonflies is called Odonatology.
The Odonata order of insects contains two main suborders “Anisoptera (dragonflies) and Zygoptera (damselflies).
Although the two are similar, damselflies are smaller than dragonflies and can fold their wings over their backs when they are at rest. Dragonflies can’t fold their wings and rest with their wings held straight out.
Dragonflies cannot sting or otherwise harm humans.
Dragonflies lay eggs in water.
The larvae of the dragonfly eat the larvae of mosquitoes.
Dragonflies can fly forward at approximately 100 body lengths per second and backward at approximately three body lengths per second. They can also hover for about a minute.
Though similar to their modern relatives, dragonflies of 325 million years ago were much larger than today, with the largest known having a wing span of around 30 inches.
Most dragonflies today have a wing span 4 to 6 inches. Today’s largest is native to South America and has a wing span of 7 inches.
The adult dragonfly generally lives only four to eight weeks, and the adult damselfly lasts only one to two weeks. Their longest stage of life is the larval stage.
Dragonflies are a threatened species due to habitat encroachment and pollution.
We can help preserve these beautiful insects by providing habitats such as ponds in our yards and parks, eliminating the use of broad spectrum pesticides, keeping our waters clean, and maintaining large hedges for them to shelter in during bad weather.