Have your kids ever asked you that why do the dragonflies have “dragon” in their names? They are nothing like the dragons except for their way of hunting. They are not ferocious and violent but are very charming and calm creatures.
They are harmless to humans and kids. We have listed some dragonfly facts for kids here. We hope you get to know more about these wonderful flies through this article.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Dragonflies for Kids
Dragonflies come in various colours and shapes. They even have a variety of species as well. We have tried to cover their major characteristics in this article. We hope you have a good time reading it.
1. Dragonflies are predators
Dragonflies are known, predators. The feet on which they cannot walk is used for catching the prey rather. They have sharp teeth and are powerful hunters.
They float over the water looking for prey. Some catch their prey mid-flight. They are experts in hunting. They are carnivores and feed on other insects. The baby dragonflies feed on mosquito larvae.
2. They are expert flyers
Dragonflies can fly at a speed of 22 – 34 miles per hour. Not only that they can fly backwards as well and that too with the same speed with which they fly forward.
They can also fly sideways and straight up and down. They can stop and hover during their flights as well. They can move each of their wings separately.
3. Adult Dragonflies do not live long
The adult dragonflies can not survive longer than larva and baby dragonflies. As soon as they enter adulthood, their lifespan is cut short. They hatch from the eggs in the water. The larva feeds on water insects, tadpoles and small fishes. They can survive up to two years in this stage.
Thereafter they become adults with the breaking of their exoskeleton, widening of abdomen and hardening of the wings. They survive few weeks in adulthood.
4. They have excellent vision
Dragonflies have two big eyes covering the majority of their head. These eyes help them in having a vision of nearly 360°. Although they can not see what is right behind them. They can see a wider spectrum of colours than human beings.
They have about 28,000 lenses in each of their eyes. They use 80% of their brain capacity to process the information they get through their vision.
5. They are older than the dinosaurs
Dragonflies have been existing on earth since prehistoric times. They are older than the dinosaurs and used to be bigger in size. They have completed over 300 million years on this earth. Their wingspan used to be over 2 feet.
The fossils of such dragonflies have been found with wingspans of 27.6 to 29.5 inches. They used to roam the earth along with the dinosaurs.
6. The dragonflies are cold-blooded
Dragonflies are cold-blooded. They increase their body temperature by rapid whirring wing movements and do not always depend on natural sources to keep themselves warm.
The perching dragonflies, however, expose their body surface to sunlight to get warmth. Some even reflect the sunlight with the help of their wings to get the sunlight directly to their bodies.
7. Male dragonflies are territorial
The male dragonflies patrol and protect their territories from the other male dragonflies so that they can not intrude. There is competition among the male dragonflies for being the female suitors as well. They get highly aggressive to repel the other suitors.
Some of the dragonflies such as the clubtails, skimmers and petal tails search into the prime egg-laying locations and defend them from other male dragonflies.
8. Some of them are known to migrate
Many of the species of dragonflies are known to migrate to avoid harsh conditions and environmental changes such as cold weather. They either migrate individually or in swarms.
They also migrate to find the needed resources. They can migrate to the southern areas during the falls and can return back to the North during the spring.
9. The cultural importance and symbolism of dragonflies
In some of the Native American tribes, dragonflies symbolise swiftness and activity. They are used in traditional medicines in Japan and China. It is associated with the Autumn season in Japan. They are the symbol of courage and strength in Haiku art.
In Europe, they are seen as sinister creatures. In Swedish folklore, it is mentioned that the devil weighs people’s souls with the help of the dragonflies.
10. Habitats of the dragonflies
Dragonflies prefer moist and milder climates. They cannot stand too much heat or too much cold. That is why many of the species migrate during the winters.
They live near water bodies because the females lay eggs on the surface of the water or the water plants inside the water bodies. You can find them near ponds, swamps, rivers, lakes, and streams. They even catch their prey, mosquitoes and insects, that are waterborne.
11. Dragonflies are vulnerable
Whether they are in the stage of being the larva or the starting of their adulthood, they are on the verge of getting hunt down by predators. While as larva they can be attacked by fishes, toads, frogs and other such water animals.
As they enter the adult stage, they are very weak during the transition. They are prone to birds, spiders, frogs and other dragonflies as well which are bigger than them.
Different Types of Dragonflies
The dragonflies come in various shapes and colours. They have over 5000 different species as well. We have listed here the most common dragonflies that are found in the world.
- Clubtail Dragonfly
- River Cruiser Dragonfly
- Skimmer Dragonfly
- Spiketail Dragonfly
- Emerald Dragonfly
- Petaltail Dragonfly
- Hawker Dragonfly
- Tigertail Dragonfly
- Saddlebag Dragonfly
- Darner Dragonfly
- Spreadwing Dragonfly
What is the difference between Butterfly and Dragonfly?
- Butterflies feed on nectar whereas Dragonflies feed on other insects.
- Butterflies have long antennae whereas Dragonflies have short antennae.
- Butterflies have opaque wings of different colours whereas Dragonflies have transparent wings.
- Butterflies have two wings and Dragonflies have two pairs of wings.
- Butterflies can not fly backwards but the dragonflies can fly backwards as well.
If you are interested in knowing more about the colorful butterflies then you can refer to our article on them here – 11 Interesting Facts about Butterflies for Kids
Dragonflies are called so because of the fierce jaws they have to catch the prey.
A baby dragonfly is called a nymph.
They are born in water and are found near water bodies only.
The scientific name of the dragonfly is Anisoptera.
They are ancient insects older than the dinosaurs.
The dragonflies feed on other insects.
They mostly feed on mosquito larvae. Apart from that, they are known to feed on small insects and small vertebrates.
Yes, they are known to eat mosquitoes.
They eat butterflies and other flying insects including dragonflies.
They prefer mild climates and live around freshwater locations such as ponds, lakes, marshes, rivers and bogs.
Usually, they do not bite unless they are trying to escape when grasped by the abdomen.
The adult dragonflies usually live up to six months. The nymphs however are known to live for four to five years.
They generally do not sting people unless they are grabbed by the abdomen and are trying to escape.
They have a total of six legs.
They have two pairs of long wings.
They have two large eyes covering most of the head portion.
The biggest dragonfly is found in South America and is around 7 inches of wingspan.
They can fly at a speed ranging from 22 to 34 miles per hour.
Dragonflies can fly backwards with the same skill and speed with which they fly forward.
Dragonflies have six legs in total but they are of no use as the dragonflies can not walk.
Dragonflies are generally diurnal but some stay active at night to migrate during the dark.
They have been around for over 300 million years. They used to be bigger in size when the dinosaurs existed.
The natural colours of dragonflies are often a combination of black, brown, red and yellow. Although their colour might change depending upon the angle of light falling on them.
Pink is the rarest colour on dragonflies.
The group of dragonflies or any flying insects are known as swarms.
Dragonflies do not harm humans or other animals. They might pinch on the skin if anyone tries to catch them but are harmless.
So these were some of the mind-blowing dragonfly facts for kids. We hope that you liked the article. You can now teach your kids about them and also tell them that they should not try to catch them just for fun.