Dragonflies are a creature that can induce strong nostalgia. Do you remember the time when we were young, chasing them around by the river? The way these insects fly is very intriguing. Plus, they don’t bite or sting. So, no wonder dragonflies are among the most popular insects. In fact, in some cultures, people believe that sighting and catching a dragonfly is a sign of good luck.
This insect with beautiful and big compound eyes is fascinating. Its colorful body and wings are the main factors why people, particularly children, love to see dragonflies. They are cute and lovely to look at, especially when flying around us. By understanding their life through this list of fun facts, you can appreciate dragonflies even more!
This list of facts about dragonflies will help you learn more about this incredible insect, especially its impact on the environment. So, we will give you 15 fun facts about dragonflies you never thought about before! No myth, no assumption, just a bundle of fun facts! Check them out.
1. Dragonfly Sanctuary Pond
In New Mexico, USA, there is a sanctuary pond for dragonflies. It is located in ABQ Park. This place will be on your must-visit list if you love to know more about dragonflies!
In this park, you can see the dragonflies buzzing around. There are many exciting activities of dragonflies that you can clearly observe. For instance, the dragonflies are busy looking for their mates, hunting for food, and breeding underwater.
The environment of the dragonfly sanctuary pond in ABQ Park is similar to the natural habitat. Hence, the dragonflies live naturally inside. So, when will you visit this place? Go book your ticket now!
2. Dragonflies Colors Turn Darker as They Grow Older
When the dragonflies grow older underwater, the colors of their bodies turn darker as well. That’s why we see that dragonflies generally have a solid and dark color combination.
There are yellow, green, or even red and blue across their body. It is not only for the body, but also for the wings. If you see it closer and thoroughly, you can see the wings have a vivid color too! What’s your favorite color of dragonflies?
3. Dragonflies Have Eyes With Thousand Lenses
The dragonflies have a couple of compound eyes, which are very attractive to see closely. In fact, each retina of dragonflies has thousands of photoreceptors that function to collect and send the light as the information and control their view while flying, particularly during the day.
The lenses are also used for hunting. If you take a closer look, the head of dragonflies consists of a pair of compound eyes. The size of their eyes is the same as their heads.
4. Dragonflies Belong to Odonata
Dragonflies belong to Odonata due to the transparent wings, sloping thorax, and long, usually slender body. The Odonata size is generally large. Furthermore, they are active during the day and have striking colors throughout the body and the wings. They became predators since they live underwater as larvae.
5. Dragonflies Considered Ancient Insects
Dragonflies have already lived since 275 million years ago. Therefore, dragonflies are considered ancient insects. In fact, the name of prehistoric dragonflies is Meganeuropsis Permian. This prehistoric dragonfly has a 75 cm wingspan and 450g weight! The fact that dragonflies used to be as big as a bird is mind-blowing and fun!
The size is larger than common dragonflies, and the weight is similar to the crows. Don’t you think the prehistoric dragonflies can fly with the birds if the weight and wingspan are still the same as current dragonflies?
6. Dragonflies Are Expert in Flying
Perhaps you think that the flies are the fastest flying insects since it is nearly impossible to catch them flying, but you are wrong! In fact, the dragonflies are the quickest and the strongest! It can fly higher than other insects.
Generally, the dragonflies can reach a maximum speed of 36-54 km/hour, while their average speed is 16 km/hour. Their top flying speed is similar to your average speed when riding a motorcycle. It is pretty impressive after considering the size of this insect.
7. Dragonflies Don’t Bite Humans
Since dragonflies cannot sting, then this animal is harmless to humans. Unless you do something to provoke them, such as forcing them to open their mouths, they can slightly make your finger bleed.
But mostly, if you just want to touch them, the dragonflies will do nothing to you. Furthermore, they can stay longer on your palm than the butterfly.
8. Most Species Only Breed in Unpolluted Rivers
Some species of dragonflies can only breed in unpolluted rivers. The polluted water or rivers are one of the fatal threats to their life. If the dragonflies cannot mate properly, their population will be disturbed. Therefore, having the meandering river with clean water is necessary to ensure the sustainability of the dragonflies population.
9. The Nymphs May Eat Others Nymph
The nymphs of dragonflies will eat each other when they are underwater. In fact, this behavior is pretty standard among the Odonata larvae. It is fascinating to see how it influences the dynamic life of dragonflies since they should protect themselves to avoid being killed by others. While at the same time, they also still learn how to survive.
Although this cannibalism doesn’t significantly affect the population of dragonflies, it is pretty interesting to know more about this case.
10. The Larvae Lives Up to 4 Years Underwater
After the female dragonflies breed, the dragonflies larvae, called nymphs will live underwater. The nymphs can live from 1 up to 4 years underwater, depending on the species. There is no metamorphosis like the butterflies. The nymphs will live underwater until they are ready to go up from the river and take the real adventure by flying higher and further.
The nymphs learn to move from the aquatic environment into the riverbank underwater. In fact, you will often see dragonflies flying around near the riverbank, having fun among their kind.
11. The Adult Dragonflies Only Live Up to Four Months
After spending a year or more underwater, the adult dragonflies are ready to explore the world, buzzing around and hunting for food. Their wings’ color turns darker, solid, and attractive, particularly for the male dragonflies.
Although the dragonflies have already spent a long time underwater preparing for the real adventure, the lifespan of the adult animal is, in fact, only 4 months. It is pretty ironic since the preparation time takes longer than the actual adventure.
12. Climate Change Causes Dragonflies to Lose Their Wings Color
It is a fact that climate change affects all living creatures, including dragonflies. Due to climate change, the researchers realized that the male dragonflies lost the color of their wings. However, the wings’ color is usually used to attract female dragonflies.
Michael Moore, an evolutionary biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, stated that males and females of these dragonfly species will shift in pretty different ways as the climate changes. He added that these changes will likely happen on a much faster timescale than the evolutionary changes in these species have ever occurred before.
13. Dragonflies as a Snack
In Indonesia, particularly in Bali, they cook dragonflies as a snack. In Bali, people will fry dragonflies using coconut oil after removing the wings first, then eat the fried dragonflies with rice or as it is.
People who have already tried to eat it will say that the taste of dragonflies is crunchy, just like the soft-shell crabs. They will add some herbs and spices before cooking to make the weird snack fancier. So that the taste of this insect is as delicious as proper meals. Interested in tasting the fried dragonflies?
14. Dragonflies Are the Great Hunters
Here is another fun fact about dragonflies that will surprise you! Although the body size of dragonflies is small, they have eyes with a thousand lenses. So no doubt that dragonflies are great hunters. They are the swift hunters because 95% of their catches are successful!
Dragonflies can predict their prey’s future more quickly and accurately than flies or mosquitoes. Even though dragonflies fly gently, they won’t hesitate to zap their prey and devour them!
15. Dragonflies cannot be found in Antarctica
Generally, you can find dragonflies anywhere around the world. Even though they spend their life 4 years underwater, dragonflies tend to go to warm places. There is only one place where you won’t see dragonflies!
This insect does not and cannot go to Antarctica. The different temperatures, weather, and ecosystem will make the dragonflies never touch that place. Sadly, the polar bears won’t ever meet this adorable insect!