Smile! The world is a beautiful place (^_^)

2018-25

Today I want to share FIVE FUN FACTS about dragonflies 🙂 A beautiful Common darter lady (Sympetrum striolatum) kindly agreed to demonstrate the facts in my pictures!

FACT 1: They were the first insects to inhabit this planet – 300 million years ago! In other words: they’ve had a looong time to perfect the art of flying and hunting.

Pioneer

FACT 2: They’re flat out terrifying if you’re a mosquito or other kind small bug, because they don’t simply chase down their prey but they snag them from the air with a calculated aerial ambush! Dragonflies can judge the speed and trajectory of a prey target, and they’re so skilled they have an impressive 95% success rate when hunting.

Hunter

FACT3: They can fly in any direction, including sideways and backwards! (How cool is that!) Plus, they can hover in a single spot for a minute or more. But that’s not all. They’re also fast – some species reach almost 30 km/h (18 mph) – and one species (Globe skimmer) flies almost 18,000 km (11,000 miles) during migration which is the world’s longest insect migration. (Compare this with the famous Monarch butterfly migration of 2,500 miles.)

Wings

FACT 4: Both dragonflies and damselflies are in the order Odonata, which means “the toothed ones”. When hunting, they can catch the prey with their feet, tear off its wings with their sharp jaws (so the prey can’t escape) and scarf it down – all without needing to land. In short: Their ability to rip apart their prey takes their predatory prowess to another level.

Update: It should be noted that dragonflies don’t bite humans and they don’t have any stinger! i.e. they cause no harm to humans. (Thanks for pointing this out, Greta)

Jaws

They have nearly 360 degrees vision! The enormous compound eyes contain 30,000 facets and they can see the world in colors we can’t even imagine. (In depth read here)

Eyes

Update: It’s also worth mentioning that dragonflies have a significant, positive ecological impact. In its nymph stage, they eat harmful aquatic organisms and thus help keep our waters clean. The nymph can contribute to the ecosystem for up to five years before becoming a mature adult! As adults, they mainly help humans by eating mosquitoes and other insects that spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, anthrax, etc.

23 responses

  1. Oh Yeah! lovely post C, just gotta love them dragons! (great shots btw)

    June 24, 2018 at 4:40 PM

    • Thanks so much, Brian! They’re just so awesome, the more I learn the more impressed I am 🙂

      June 24, 2018 at 4:44 PM

  2. Merce Alonso

    Lovely entry for your book

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    June 24, 2018 at 5:26 PM

  3. Fantastic shots – Absolutely wonderful. Dragonflies are super predators! I’ve seen both Orange-tip and small tortoiseshell grabbed from mid-air bDragonflies at Long Lane Pasture. Great captures 🙂

    June 24, 2018 at 6:36 PM

    • Thanks so much, Martin! 🙂 They’re so incredibly fast, those mid-air ambushes are amazing. Very impressive (and scary for the prey)

      June 24, 2018 at 7:41 PM

  4. Love the fun facts and your photos are amazing! Such detail!

    June 24, 2018 at 8:36 PM

  5. Wonderful shots and very informative post!

    June 24, 2018 at 9:36 PM

  6. Fabulous post and wonderful photos, Camilla!

    June 24, 2018 at 9:56 PM

  7. Brilliant details on the wings.

    June 25, 2018 at 6:05 PM

  8. Beautiful detailed photographs and I am very pleased that you state these facts about the Odonata. What you did not mention – or at least I didn’t see any reference in your text about it – is that they have no stinger. Many people believe that these beautiful insects have one and can do much harm to children.

    June 25, 2018 at 6:29 PM

    • Thanks so much, Greta! You’re absolutely right, I didn’t even think about that. I will update the post! Thanks so much 🙂

      June 25, 2018 at 6:41 PM

  9. Wow! This is brilliant. I can’t wait for the book! Great images. 😎

    June 26, 2018 at 7:01 AM

    • Thanks so much, John! Much appreciated as usual!The book is just a dream in my head so far 😀

      June 26, 2018 at 8:44 AM

  10. Great lesson thanks Camilla I needed this! Apparently I’ve never actually seen a dragonfly all these years, they’ve all been damselflies. Beautiful either way, although slightly frightening now😐

    June 26, 2018 at 5:19 PM

    • Thanks so much, Tony! 🙂 No reason to be frightened, I added a closing with only positive facts!

      June 26, 2018 at 6:05 PM

  11. Great photos, especially those super-close ones! 🙂 And good things to know, like that long migration, and their 95% success rate in catching prey. I think my only 95% rate is getting a fork to my mouth! 😉

    June 26, 2018 at 5:46 PM

    • Thanks so much, Lynn! 🙂 They are very impressive, I suspect that the 95% success rate might be another world record that the dragonflies hold!

      June 26, 2018 at 6:10 PM

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