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Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Dragon That Flies!

Dragonflies belong to the insect order Odonata - which means toothed jaws. They are considered some of the fastest insects in the world. With those beautiful, transparent wings which are attached to its thorax, the Dragonfly can whiz by at an incredible speed. While in flight it can sight and catch other insects that it devours, such as flies and mosquitoes, with its strong and well-developed jaws. This beautiful creature used to be much bigger. Scientists found dragonfly fossils that are more than 200 million years old with an incredible wingspan of over 2 feet! Dragonflies are one of the largest insects known to have ever lived.

Don´t try to sneak up on the Dragonfly because it escapes so fast you would think the insect had eyes in the back of its head! A Dragonfly has tremendous eyesight. Each big, bulging compound eye consists of several thousand elements known as facets or ommatidia. No wander these guys can see so much! They can see almost everywhere at once; they can still see you after they fly by!

Dragonflies are unusual in that they have only a 2 stage life-cycle. Female Dragonflies lay their eggs in fresh water. They are called nymphs after they hatch and immediately take to the water. While in the nymph stage they eat mosquito larvae and other things. They transform directly from nymphs into adults, missing on the pupa stage which is common to most insects. When the nymph is ready to go through the process to change into an adult, it will climb out of the water onto a nearby plant or rock, using its hooked feet and it will hang out in the sun until it emerges as an adult. During this period, the adult life is burdened with danger, as the Dragonfly is uncovered and defenseless until its wings harden for flight. On the other hand, once up in the skies the Dragonfly will recommence its natural position as the predator in the insect planet.

Image: Wikipedia
Source: Totally Buggin!

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