The dragonfly evolved over 300 million years ago. Making it one of the first winged insects to evolve.
Prehistoric dragonflies had a wing span as large as two and a half feet long. Today their wing span averages two to five inches long while the largest species, in South America, has a wing span of seven inches.
Dragonflies are one of the oldest known insects.
Dragonflies are an aquatic insect that are found near streams, rivers and ponds. While there are some species that prefer salt water.
Dragonflies have the ability to mate in mid air.
They lay their eggs on floating aquatic plants. Their eggs take about 2 weeks to hatch and the larvae are called nymphs.
Most of the dragonflies life is spent as a nymph, living beneath the surface of the water. Depending on the species, the nymph stage can last anywhere from six months to seven years.
The nymph diet consists of other flying insects, tadpoles and even fish.
The Adult Dragonfly
After the nymph stage the adult dragonfly then emerges in all its splendor. An adult dragonfly has three distinctive parts, the head, the thorax and the abdomen. They have two pairs of long transparent wings which are able to work independently. Their two large bulging eyes cover most of its head and give them the capability to see at every angle except right behind them!
They are skilled and avid hunters. Insects are their main main source of food and they can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in one day.
They are able to fly at anywhere at speeds of anywhere between ten and thirty miles per hour. However, they can not fly when their blood is called and they will often bask in the sun to get warm until they are ready to fly.
Adult dragonflies can live anywhere from a few weeks to as long as a year.
Its main purpose is controlling the insect population and keeping an ecological balance.
Their ecological purpose is that of a predator to other insects.
Their speed and sharp mandibles allow them to quickly immobilize their prey. It tears off the wings of its prey to prevent it from escaping and then quickly devours it.
The dragonfly is a predator to a wide range of insects including, moths, bees, flies, mosquitoes and even other dragonflies.
While the dragonflies themselves are prey to birds, bats, spiders and the praying mantis.
Because they catch their prey in mid air the dragonfly will starve to death if it is unable to fly.
Dragonflies also have the ability to fly backwards and sideways. They can even just hover in space!
This ability makes catching its prey all the easier!
Legend and Lore
While most of us are frantically swatting away at flying insects, we seem to have more of a tolerance for the dragonfly. It is a symbol of beauty, grace and spirituality.
The dragonfly is an insect of myths and legends and for some it holds a spiritual meaning.
It can symbolize for us change and self realization. Also sending us a reminder for us to live life to the fullest.
All over the world it is associated with some sort of a special meaning.
A dragonfly that lands on you brings you good luck, while seeing a dead one means that you will get some sad news
In some cultures dragonflies are portrayed as being the positive messenger of loved ones, freeing souls and carrying messages of love, peace and reassurance.
Fishermen would use them as way to target fishing spots. If there were lots of dragonflies flying about it meant that there was lots of fish to catch!
A dragonfly motif adorned the helmets of Japanese warriors in the 17th century. They believed that it would bring them strength and protection during battle. The dragonfly motif can now be found on clothing and jewelry around the world.
They are seen as being a conduit to a loved ones spirit.
So if a dragonfly hovers around you it means it is trying to give you a message from a loved one. Could these beautiful insects flying around our yards be old Uncle Harry or cranky old Aunt Hazel.
Maybe they are trying to send us one last message? Or perhaps they are just keeping the mosquitoes at bay, although that doesn’t sound nearly as mystical.
The dragonfly brings dreams to reality and is the messenger of wisdom and enlightenment ~ Unknown