Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dragonfly

Legend How Dragonfly Was Born

According to legend dragonfly was born from dragon. The legend goes like this. Dragon had scales like Dragonfly's wings. Coyote tricked dragon into changing form, and its shape became dragonfly.

Interesting facts about the Dragonfly

Despite their name, dragonflies are not related to common flies. In fact, they are part of an entirely different order of insects. Dragonflies are part of the Odonata order, which also includes damselflies.

Worldwide the Odonata order of insects (dragonflies and damselflies) includes more than 5,000 individual species. They exist in many countries around the world. Within the United States there are about 400 species of Odonata.

You often see dragonflies near bodies of water (ponds, lakes and slow-moving streams) because they lay their eggs on or near the water.

Dragonfly young (nymphs) have a special appendage on their head that they use as a spear to catch small fish. They are predatory insects from birth.

Dragonflies are not born with wings. They are born in a larvae state and eventually go through a partial metamorphosis process, during which they grow their wings.

Dragonflies spend most of their lives in the larva stage (up to three years depending on the species). The adult, winged stage only lasts a few weeks. Mating is the primary reason for their winged stage. So when you see a winged dragonfly, you know it’s toward the end of its lifespan. Sad but true.

Male dragonflies can be very territorial, staking claim to a particular area alongside a pond or stream. When you see two adults chasing each other through the air, it is often one male chasing another from its territory.

When you see two dragonflies flying through the air attached to one another, it is almost always a male and female mating.

Dragonflies will sometimes travel in swarms, which may be related to weather changes such as the passage of cold fronts.

Dragonflies prey on other creatures through their entire life cycle. As larva in bodies of water, they prey on other small creatures (mosquito larva, tiny fish, etc.) As adults, they eat other flying insects.

Dragonflies can be useful in controlling mosquito populations. Mosquitoes are one of their primary food sources.

Dragonflies are ancient insects. They have existed on Planet Earth for approximately 300 million years. Today they look very much like they did in “dinosaur times”, though they have gradually gotten smaller since then.

The largest dragonfly fossil (one of the earliest) had a wingspan of nearly three feet. That makes it the largest flying insect in known history.

Dragonflies have two pairs of wings. The wings are mostly transparent and move very fast, so it often appears that they have more than two pairs.

The front wings of the dragonfly are slightly longer than the rear wings. This helps with both speed and maneuverability.

Though many people fear them, dragonflies cause no harm to humans whatsoever. They are often curious towards humans and will fly around you for that reason, but they do not sting or bite.

One of the most distinguishing features of the dragonflies is their eyes. They have large, compound eyes with many facets or sides.

Because of their large, multifaceted eyes, the adult dragonfly can see nearly 360 degrees around it at all times.

Though you can’t see them all with the naked eye, the compound eyes of the dragonfly can contain thousands of tiny lenses.

As far as insects go, dragonflies are among the fastest. Some of the faster species can fly upward of 30 miles per hour. Their four wings also allow them to move sideways, backward, to hover in place, etc., and they can do all these movements quickly and accurately, which makes them well suited to eat other insects right out of the air.

Added note: Janet from My Brother Andrew asked what the difference was between a damselfly and a dragonfly. If you are interested you can click here for a very good explanation.

31 comments:

Sharon said...

My something new for today - it's late, I almost missed it!

What an interesting post! Thank you! I enjoyed it very much!!!

Linda Reeder said...

Dragonflies were circling around me as I walked in the park this morning. Summer = dragonfly days.

Cezar and Léia said...

Very interesting reportage about dragonfly, thanks for all information!
Léia

Janet said...

Interesting post-do damsels only have 1 set of wings then ? often wondered what the difference is between the two-we were watching some the other day,they were an iridescence blue, beautiful.

eden said...

Great shot of the dragonfly. Thank you for sharing information about it too. Nice post.

Roy said...

A lot of useful info Denise, thanks.

Valerie said...

Thank you Denise. This post was very interesting. I always learn something new when I come to your blog.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked all the detail; great capture.

Susan said...

Many, many things I didn't know about dragonflies - thank you!

Beyond My Garden said...

Dragons and damsels fill our meadows with their prehistoric shapes. I like to see them and I like your photos, today.
nellie

Indrani said...

That was a interesting science lesson. Great pic.

gigihawaii said...

I don't think there are dragonflies in Hawaii. But, maybe, Kay has seen them here.

imac said...

Thank you my friend for all the info of Dragonflies, brill post with great shots.

Misty Dawn said...

They are one of my most favorite type of critter, and DEFINITELY one of my favorite photography subjects :-D
I really enjoyed this post!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great photo and accompanying nature lesson. I've always loved dragonflies.

Craver Vii said...

Fascinating creatures! I've always loved them. Thanks for sharing.

*Honest Abe said...

Nice shots.

Don't unplug your hub said...

Do you think there is any truth in the legend. :-)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Very interesting info about Dragonflies, Denise. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

NatureFootstep said...

I like dragonflies but they are soo hard to ID. According o a book I´m reading you need a lookingglass to be able to tell the difference sometimes.

Michele said...

I loved reading your post... I knew some of it. I make my own flies and such for fly fishing so I try to understand a little but there were a few facts that surprised me! I love dragonflies, I had one tattooed on my wrist- to me, it symbolizes good luck and freedom from returning from a battle and because of my abusive past, I feel this represented me well.
Very nice post, my friend... (hug)

Andrew said...

What a lovely post.
So much information backed up by your wonderful images.
Many thanks for sharing.

Wren said...

I love the origin story - nice to think that dragons haven't completely left our world.

SandyCarlson said...

That's a neat story behind this amazing Piper Cub insect. Thanks for telling it. And thanks for your visit. I hope you are having a wonderful week.

Gill - That British Woman said...

I did not know that about Dragonflies. The ones I see most around here are blue.

Loved the photo also.

Gill

Carver said...

This was a fascinating post. I learned a lot about dragonflies that I didn't know. Also enjoyed the legend. The photograph is fantastic. Great how you caught a reflection of the wings on the leaf.

Friko said...

There are more varieties of dragon fly than there are bloggers. Fancy that.

But bloggers have as many windows on to the world as the dragon fly has.

Thank you for this learned article, I too find dragon flies fascinating; I often sit by a muddy pond and watch the ordinary damsel.

Kay said...

I would love to have more dragonflies over here to eat up the mosquitoes and termites. Your photos are terrific, Denise and I love the legend.

Janie said...

Great photo and lots of good information. I didn't know they were so fast, but I did know they are hard to photograph! They never seem to stay still very long.

Frank said...

An excellent post Denise.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Thanks for all the cool factoids!