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dragonfly

dragonfly, any insect of the order Odonata, which also includes the damselfly. Members of this order are generally large predatory insects and characteristically have chewing mouthparts and four membranous, net-veined wings; they undergo complete metamorphosis. Species are found throughout the world except in the polar regions; the greatest variety occurs in the tropics.

Dragonflies, which are commonly called horse stingers and devil's darning needles, are strong fliers with elongated bodies; they rest with their wings outstretched. Some are 5 in. (12.7 cm) long. Damselflies are generally smaller, with slender, often brilliantly colored, bodies and rest with their wings folded back. The giant helicopter damselfly of tropical America has a wingspan of 7.5 in. (19 cm).

Both dragonflies and damselflies lay eggs on or near water. The nymphs are aquatic and breathe by means of gills located at the end of the abdomen; the gills can also be used for propulsion through the water. The nymphs feed on insect larvae and are an important food for fish and birds. When grown, they crawl up out of the water and molt. Most species produce a single generation each year, with the nymph stage usually overwintering. Both nymphs and adults prey on mosquitoes and other insects and are harmless, indeed beneficial, to humans.

Fossil remains of a form from the Permian period, with a wingspread of 21/2 ft (76 cm), have been found. Modern dragonflies and damselflies are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Odonata.

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Dragonflies

Dragonflies

Order: Odonata

Suborder: Anisoptera

Life Cycle: incomplete

Three Life Stages: egg, nymph, and adult

Life Span: anywhere from 2-4 years

Nymph

Weed dweller
Mud dweller

Body Description

Antennae: 2 very small

Eyes: 2 very large compound eyes that almost touch each other and make the head look small

Mouth: (lower lip) able to reach out to grasp or seize prey, under the thorax and head

Tail: none

Wings: pads

Gills: no outer surface

Legs: 6, spider like and tightly based

Abdomen: very wide, thick and compressed

Body Colors: camouflage to environment, mottled browns, olive & brownish black, shades of yellow

Mobility: very active. They crawl, dart, and free swim and hunt for food

Adult

Body Description

Antennae: 2 very small

Eyes: 2 very large compound eyes that touch or almost touch each other on top of the head, very dominant

Wings: 2 sets, hind wings are wider than forewings, strongly veined glassy wings of equal length. They separate horizontally at rest or in flight, can spread up to 6

Legs: very small held tightly to the thorax

Abdomen: long, slender and segmented

Tail: none

Body Colors: incredible metallic fluorescent shades. Colors vary from bright greens, purples, and clarets, rusty reds, burnt oranges, blues and blacks

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Anisoptera

Anisoptera (dragonflies; class Insecta, order Odonata) One of the three suborders of dragonflies, comprising insects which are generally more robust, and fly more strongly, than those in the other suborders. The anisopteran hind wing has a broader base than the fore wing, both parts being held outspread when the insect is at rest. The larvae are aquatic and robust, with an elaborate system of tracheal gills arranged in longitudinal rows within the rectum. Adults are often brightly coloured, and fly near water. This cosmopolitan suborder has nine families (Aeshnidae, Cordulegasteridae, Corduliidae, Gomphidae, Libellulidae, Macromiidae, Neopetaliidae, Petaluridae, and Synthemidae), containing more than 2500 species.

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dragonfly

dragonfly Swift-flying insect of the order Odonata. It has a long, slender, often brightly coloured abdomen, and two pairs of large membranous wings. Like the damselfly, it mates while flying. The carnivorous nymphs, which hatch from eggs laid on water plants, are aquatic. Wingspan: to 17cm (7in).

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dragonfly

drag·on·fly / ˈdragənˌflī/ • n. (pl. -flies) a fast-flying long-bodied predatory insect (suborder Anisoptera, order Odonata) with two pairs of large transparent wings that are spread out sideways at rest. Compare with damselfly.

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Anisoptera

Anisoptera (mersawa; family Dipterocarpaceae) A genus of large, evergreen trees that yield valuable, usually siliceous, timber. They are native from Assam to New Guinea, and are found in lowland tropical rain forest. There are 11 species.

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dragonflies

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dragonflies

dragonflies See Odonata.

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dragonfly

dragonflyally, phalli •Adlai • gadfly • blackfly • damselfly •sandfly • barfly • mayfly •Eli, Ely •greenfly • bacilli • multiply • styli •whitefly • wall eye • horsefly •housefly •alveoli, E. coli, gladioli •blowfly • lapis lazuli • reguli • stimuli •flocculi • ranunculi • firefly •discoboli • astragali • dragonfly •alkali • Lorelei • Naphtali • butterfly •hoverfly

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