It probably sounds unbelievable, but the truth is that dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve, 300 million years ago. Dragonflies, also known as darners or devil’s arrows are living on every continent but Antarctica. These insects are well-known for their large bodies, four long, horizontal wings, and their specific way of hovering and zipping around. Flying helicopter-style dragonflies can reach speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. And that’s not all!
To keep you informed at all times we’ve prepared these interesting facts about dragonflies, so the next time you’ll notice them hovering around in your back yard you’ll see them in a different light! They’re the acrobats of the insect world and, with their striking colors, are a true sign of summer in the garden.
Fossil dragonflies have been found with wingspans of up to two feet unlike modern dragonflies with wingspans of only two to five inches.
Around 7,000 species of real dragonflies are alive today, and, together with the closely related damselflies, they form the group Odonata.
Dragonflies are hard to catch, which makes it hard to conduct tagging.
Scientists have trailed migratory dragonflies by fastening tiny transmitters to their wings with a combination of eyelash adhesive and superglue.
Many species of dragonflies, gather in swarms to feed or migrate. Why? Possibly to protect themselves against predators, but researchers don’t know that for sure.
The dragonfly’s head has enormous compound eyes, which contain 30,000 features, each bringing in information about the insect’s surroundings.
95% of the life cycle of a dragonfly is spent underwater.
The females lay eggs in or near water which usually hatch after a few weeks whilst the eggs of some species lie dormant over winter.
The hatched larvae feed on live prey including small fish which may be larger than themselves.
As the larvae grow they cast their skins up to 15 times.
When the water warms up and the day length gets longer the fully grown larvae climb up marginal vegetation or out onto a bank and cast their skin to emerge as an adult.
The newly emerged dragonfly takes a while to pump fluid into the wings and abdomen.
It can take several hours for the wings to harden before it can take its maiden flight, find a mate and start the cycle all over again.
Dragonflies have practically 360-degree vision.
They’re great fliers. They’ve got two sets of wings so they can fly straight up or down, backward, upside down, and hover.