7 cool things about the dragonfly

Dragonflies are such interesting insects. For instance, did you know that they help keep mosquitoes at bay by hunting them? Let’s find out what else is cool about this creature.

1. Older than dinosaurs

Who would have thought that the dragonflies we know today roamed the earth even before the dinosaurs? Some scientists believe that these flying insects were here about 60 million years before the dinosaurs. The biggest dragonfly on earth at the time was the Meganeuropsis permiana who weighed 450g and had a wingspan of 75cm – similar to the size of a crow.

2. Art of flying

The dragonfly has perfected the art of flying. He can fly in any direction, forwards and backwards, and he can hover in one place too. The dragonfly has two sets of wings, and each wing can be operated independently, which seems to be this insect’s secret. Not many insects are capable of this flying manoeuvrability.

3. I can see you

Imagine how well we would be able to see if we had 30,000 eyes. The dragonfly has compound eyes, which consist of about 30,000 single eyes, allowing him to see everywhere except directly behind him. This allows him to zoom in on his prey to hunt it down.

4. Mean bite

Using his perfected flying techniques and excellent vision, the dragonfly will catch up to the victim, tear off its wings, and eat his prey mid-air. Apparently, they have a successful hunting rate of 95%.

5. Across the globe

There are dragonflies all over the world, except for Antarctica. And today, there are about 7,000 species of dragonflies. They come in a variety of colours, from green to purple, but the rarest dragonfly colour is blue. Some cultures believe that blue dragonflies are a sign of good luck.

6. Water baby

The dragonfly needs water to reproduce and will lay eggs in the water. Seven or eight days later, the larvae will hatch, and they can stay in the water for up to three years. During this time, they eat a variety of insect larvae and even small fish. Once they have morphed into adults, they will stay alive for about a month or so.

7. Becoming endangered

Dragonflies are considered reliable bioindicators of a healthy ecosystem as they need clean water and stable oxygen levels in the water. Without fresh water, the dragonfly won’t be able to survive. Due to water pollution all over the world, more and more dragonfly species are becoming threatened or endangered. One such example is the South African yellow presba, a species losing their habitat due to invasive black wattle trees. Just think about it for a moment – the dragonfly was able to survive all these millions of years, but now they might die out due to humans polluting their water sources.


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