Can Dragonflies Breathe Fire?

Are you a fan of the great outdoors? Many individuals view summer as the ideal time to appreciate nature. They embark on hikes, camping trips, or even just long strolls. If this sounds like you, you may have encountered the topic of today’s Wonder of the Day previously.

Who is it? The dragonfly, of course! When you observe a dragonfly up close, it’s evident how they acquired their name. They don’t actually breathe fire, but they do appear somewhat fierce—similar to the mythical dragon they’re named after.

Dragonflies have been in existence for a considerable period. Experts estimate that they existed over 300 million years ago. One fossil indicates that ancient dragonflies may have had a wingspan exceeding two feet (about 76 centimeters)! The largest dragonfly currently living can be found in Costa Rica. Its wingspan is just slightly over seven inches (or about 18 centimeters).

One of the most remarkable features of the dragonfly is its large eyes. Unlike human eyes, which have only one lens, dragonfly eyes consist of up to 30,000 separate lenses! These eyes enable a dragonfly to see in all directions. Unfortunately, despite their numerous lenses, dragonflies do not see details very well.

Dragonflies are among the fastest and most skilled fliers in the insect kingdom. They can fly in loops, hover, and even fly backwards. A dragonfly in Australia was recorded flying at a speed of 60 miles per hour.

Dragonflies utilize their speed effectively. They are predatory insects that feed on other insects. Their preferred prey includes mosquitoes, gnats, flies, bees, ants, and wasps.

Immediately after dragonflies hatch, they are referred to as nymphs. They may reside in water for several years. This is why dragonflies are often found near water sources, such as marshes, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. However, once they leave the water and begin to fly, they only live for about a month.

Where can you come across dragonflies? Almost anywhere! In fact, there are approximately 3,000 different species of dragonflies worldwide.

Various cultures have interpreted dragonflies differently throughout history. In Europe, for instance, dragonflies have often been regarded as malevolent. In Japan, however, they are seen as symbols of bravery, strength, and happiness. In Japanese art and literature, particularly haiku, dragonflies are frequently featured.

Have you ever spotted a dragonfly? Could you understand why it got its name? Perhaps you were inspired to compose a beautiful poem about it yourself! Many individuals consider dragonflies to be some of the most exquisite insects.

Give It a Shot

Are you prepared to learn even more about dragonflies? Make sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Having trouble identifying the specific type of dragonfly you come across in the wild? Visit the Dragonfly Identification Guide online for helpful tips and pictures of different species. Don’t forget to check the map to see which ones are found in your area.
  • Feeling creative? Try making a Clothespin Dragonfly craft for a friend or family member. Look up the instructions online and gather the necessary supplies. Enjoy personalizing your dragonfly with your favorite colors!
  • It’s no wonder that dragonflies have inspired art and literature. Create your own artwork inspired by these beautiful creatures. Whether it’s a drawing, painting, sculpture, or any other form, let your imagination run wild. Share your creation with a friend or family member and tell them three interesting facts you’ve learned about dragonflies today.

Additional Resources

  • http://www.migratorydragonflypartnership.org/uploads/_ROOT/File/1_Intro_Odes_module_2014_Sec.pdf (accessed 26 Mar. 2021)
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonfly (accessed 26 Mar. 2021)
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_organisms#Insects_.28Insecta.29 (accessed 26 Mar. 2021)
  • http://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/slater-museum/biodiversity-resources/dragonflies/the-families-and-genera-of-odo/ (accessed 26 Mar. 2021)
  • http://www.dragonfly-site.com/dragonfly-facts.html (accessed 26 Mar. 2021)
  • www.learnersdictionary.com (accessed 26 Mar. 2021)

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