Dragonflies are ancient creatures. It is believed that the dragonfly has been flying around the skies for over 300-million-years. This was long before even the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. They were the first insect to evolve with wings. Unlike the dragonfly that we know today, the ancient dragonfly had a wingspan of up to two feet.
There are about 5,000 known species of dragonflies in the world. They belong to the Odonata species, which translates to “the toothed one” in Greek. Although the dragonfly doesn’t have any teeth, they do have a powerful serrated mandible, which allows them to crush their prey while eating. They may look fragile, but they are actually ferocious killers.
The Life Cycle
Dragonflies start out as an egg. After the egg hatches, they enter the larval stage, which is the nymph stage. During this part of the dragonfly’s life, it lives on the water and remains there for up to four years. When they are ready to emerge as adults, they begin feasting on insect larvae, fish, and tadpoles. When the larval stage is over, the nymph crawls out of the water and its exoskeleton cracks. This is when the dragonfly’s distinctive abdomen and wings come out. Over the next few hours or days, the insect’s body begins to strengthen. Until its body strengthens completely, it is vulnerable to predators. During this time, the dragonfly often falls prey to birds and other carnivores.
When a dragonfly reaches adulthood, they are incredible fliers. They can go up, down, backward, and forward. This insect can also move their wings independently, allowing them to make hairpin turns. The dragonfly is also very fast. It can fly close to 30 miles per hour, which is about 100 body lengths per second.
The Globe Skimmer
The dragonfly is known as the globe skimmer because it holds the record for the longest migration. Dragonflies can travel far. They are known to travel across the Indian Ocean, traveling between India and Africa. This is an incredible 11,000-mile journey.
Dragonflies are not just master fliers; they have incredible vision. Because their eyes dominate their heads, they have 360-degree vision. They are capable of seeing colors as good as humans do. This allows them to pick up on the movement of other insects, which can easily avoid mid-air collisions.
They Are Found Everywhere
Dragonflies are found on all corners of the Earth. You can find dragonflies on every continent in the world, except for Antarctica. Despite the fact that they can be found all over the world, the dragonfly is at risk. The population has been declining across the globe. This is due to the loss of wetland environments that these insects rely on to thrive. If the dragonfly were to become extinct, it would be detrimental to the rest of the planet. They are responsible for keeping the mosquito population under control. Each day, one dragonfly eats between 30 to several hundred mosquitoes each day. Considering all of the mosquitoes in the world, they make plenty of mosquitoes disappear each day.
Dragonflies have captivated our ancestors for thousands of years. While exploring the ancient town of El Lahun, English archaeologist, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie found a blue-glazed dragonfly amulet. It is believed to be dated from the late Middle Kingdom era of Ancient Egypt somewhere between 2050 and 1710 BC. Since then, the dragonfly has been capturing our attention. There are many cultures who have found unique meanings in dragonflies. Many believe that this insect was descended from dragons. Due to the dragonfly’s life cycle, some cultures believe that these insets signify change.
The English and the Swedish associate the dragonfly with the devil. They believe that these insects were sent by Satan to weigh the souls of his victims. They believe that this is why dragonflies circle above your head. In reality, the dragonfly does tend to hover overhead, but the reason is not an ominous one. It is simply the way that they move.
Some people who admire dragonflies believe that they are the personification of the theory, “you only live once.” This is because the shortest period of their lives is lived as adults. Since their adulthood is so short, they encourage us to make the most of the little time that we have, like it is our last. When many people see a dragonfly, it reminds them that they have to do the most with their lives while they can. If you’re someone who often spots dragonflies, the universe may be sending you an important message. It is a message that you shouldn’t ignore. Get up and do something with your life because you don’t know how much time you have.