Facts about Dragonflies
- Dragonflies are insects.
- A dragonfly starts their life by hatching from an egg under the water.
- Dragonflies are predators, even when they are young, before they can fly.
- A dragonfly baby is called a nymph.
- Dragonfly nymphs live underwater in non-saltwater the first months of their life.
- During their time underwater, dragonfly nymphs beath using gills like a fish. They also shed their outer skin as they grow underwater many times.
- After almost 3 months, a dragonfly leaves their underwater home for the last time. They shed their skin and develop a hardened outer shell called an exoskeleton. During this time, the dragonfly also develops their wings.
- A dragonfly is not capable of flying, even though they have wings, until their exoskeleton hardens. During this time period they are very vulnerable to fish, reptiles, animals, birds and large insects.
- Dragonflies have two sets of wings which have independent movement. Each set of wings have different functions for manevering. A dragonfly can fly in any direction and can also stay in one position while flying (hover).
- Dragonfly wings are very strong. Their wings have a cellular pattern, which creates a natural grid. Even though many dragonflies have semi-transparent wings, the cellular gird gives the wings strength.
- Dragonflies can fly very fast. Most dragonflies have an average top speed of 55 km/hr or 35 miles per hour, which is like running a 100 yard dash in 5.8 seconds.
- The fastest known insect is the Southern Giant Darner dragonfly.
- Dragonflies, like almost all insects are cold-blooded. Their body temperature relies on the air temperature around them. When temperatures are low, dragonflies have limited activity. During higher temperature periods dragonflies are much more active.
- Dragonflies use the sun to help warm their body. When the air is cool in the morning or evening, dragonflies can be found with their wings fully extended to absorb as much heat from the sun as possible.
Dragonfly collecting heat from the sun