Skip to main content
Select Source:

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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"dragonfly." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"dragonfly." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonfly

"dragonfly." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonfly

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Dragonflies." Fly Fishing: The Lifetime Sport. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Dragonflies." Fly Fishing: The Lifetime Sport. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/local-interest/sports-fitness-recreation-and-leisure-magazines/dragonflies

"Dragonflies." Fly Fishing: The Lifetime Sport. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/local-interest/sports-fitness-recreation-and-leisure-magazines/dragonflies

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Anisoptera." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Anisoptera." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/anisoptera-0

"Anisoptera." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/anisoptera-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"dragonfly." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"dragonfly." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonfly

"dragonfly." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonfly

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"dragonfly." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"dragonfly." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonfly-0

"dragonfly." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonfly-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Anisoptera." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Anisoptera." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/anisoptera

"Anisoptera." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/anisoptera

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

dragonflies

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"dragonflies." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"dragonflies." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonflies

"dragonflies." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonflies

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

dragonflies

dragonflies See Odonata.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"dragonflies." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"dragonflies." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonflies-0

"dragonflies." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonflies-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"dragonfly." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"dragonfly." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonfly

"dragonfly." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/dragonfly

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Dragonflies

Dragonflies

Resources

Dragonflies are large flying insects in the order Odonata. Dragonflies can be as large as 3 in (7.5 cm) in length, with a wing span of up to 8 in (20 cm). The

fossilized remains of a huge dragonfly-like insect that had a wingspread of more than 2 ft (70 cm) is known from the Carboniferous period, some 300 million years ago.

Dragonflies are very distinctive insects, with large eyes that almost cover the entire head, a short thorax, a long slender abdomen, and glassy membranous wings. Dragonflies are classified in the suborder Anisoptera since their hindwings are larger than their forewings, and the wings are habitually held straight out when at rest. They feed on other insects, which they catch in flight.

Dragonflies are usually found around streams and ponds, where they feed, mate, and lay their eggs. The mating habits of dragonflies are conspicuous and unusual. The male generally sets up a territory over a part of a stream or pond which he patrols for most of the day. When a newly emerged female flies into the territory, the male flies above her and lands on her back, bends his abdomen far forward and deposits sperm on the underside of his second abdominal segment, which is the site of his penis. Then, grasping the female behind the head with a pair of forceps-like structures at the end of his abdomen, he flies off with her in tandem. When she is ready to mate, she curls her abdomen down and forward to place its end under the males second abdominal segment, which has structures to hold it in place while the sperm are transferred to her reproductive tract. The pair may fly around in this unusual wheel configuration for several minutes. Egg-laying begins within a short time, with the male either continuing to hold the female while she dips her abdomen into the water to lay the

KEY TERMS

Globe-skimmer One of the most widely distributed of all dragonflies.

Naiad The aquatic larval stage of dragonflies.

Thorax The body region of insects that supports the legs and wings.

eggs, or waiting above her and then regrasping her after each egg-laying session. The eggs hatch into aquatic larval form (naiad) after a few days.

Like the adults, the wingless naiads feed on insects and other small aquatic animals. The lower lip (labium) of the larvae is retractable with jaws that can be thrust out in front of the head to catch and pull the prey back to the chewing mandibles. The naiads have gills in the last segments of the abdomen and ventilate the gills by pumping water in and out. The contraction of the pumping muscles also allows the larvae to jet forward rapidly out of harms way. During the winter, the larvae live in the water, where they grow, shedding the external skeleton (molting) several times. In the spring, the larvae climb out of the water, molt again, and the newly-transformed adult dragonflies emerge and unfurl their wings.

Some 5, 000 species of dragonflies are known, living in every continent except Antarctica, and on most islands as well. The principal families of dragonflies are the high-flying darners, the Aeshnidae, and the skimmers, the Libellulidae.

Resources

BOOKS

Carde, Ring, and Vincent H. Resh, eds. Encyclopedia of Insects. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2003.

dAguilar, J., J.L. Dommanget, and R. Prechac. A Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain, Europe and North Africa. London: Collins, 1986.

Herndon G. Dowling

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Dragonflies." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Dragonflies." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonflies

"Dragonflies." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonflies

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Dragonflies

Dragonflies

Dragonflies are large flying insects in the order Odonata. Dragonflies can be as large as 3 in (7.5 cm) in length, with a wing span of up to 8 in (20 cm). The fossilized remains of a huge dragonfly-like insect that had a wingspread of more than 2 ft (70 cm) is known from the Carboniferous period, some 300 million years ago.

Dragonflies are very distinctive insects, with large eyes that almost cover the entire head, a short thorax, a long slender abdomen, and glassy membranous wings. Dragonflies are classified in the suborder Anisoptera since their hindwings are larger than their forewings, and the wings are habitually held straight out when at rest. They feed on other insects, which they catch in flight.

Dragonflies are usually found around streams and ponds, where they feed, mate, and lay their eggs. The mating habits of dragonflies are conspicuous and unusual. The male generally sets up a territory over a part of a stream or pond which he patrols for most of the day. When a newly emerged female flies into the territory, the male flies above her and lands on her back, bends his abdomen far forward and deposits sperm on the underside of his second abdominal segment, which is the site of his penis. Then, grasping the female behind the head with a pair of forceps-like structures at the end of his abdomen, he flies off with her in tandem. When she is ready to mate, she curls her abdomen down and forward to place its end under the male's second abdominal segment, which has structures to hold it in place while the sperm are transferred to her reproductive tract. The pair may fly around in this unusual "wheel" configuration for several


minutes. Egg-laying begins within a short time , with the male either continuing to hold the female while she dips her abdomen into the water to lay the eggs, or waiting above her and then regrasping her after each egg-laying session. The eggs hatch into aquatic larval form (naiad) after a few days.

Like the adults, the wingless naiads feed on insects and other small aquatic animals. The lower lip (labium) of the larvae is retractable with jaws that can be thrust out in front of the head to catch and pull the prey back to the chewing mandibles. The naiads have gills in the last segments of the abdomen and ventilate the gills by pumping water in and out. The contraction of the pumping muscles also allows the larvae to "jet" forward rapidly out of harm's way. During the winter, the larvae live in the water, where they grow, shedding the external skeleton (molting) several times. In the spring, the larvae climb out of the water, molt again, and the newly-transformed adult dragonflies emerge and unfurl their wings.

Some 5,000 species of dragonflies are known, living in every continent except Antarctica , and on most islands as well. The principal families of dragonflies are the high-flying darners, the Aeshnidae, and the skimmers, the Libellulidae.


Resources

books

Borror, D.J., and R.E. White. A Field Guide to the Insects ofAmerica North of Mexico. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980.

Borror, D.J., D.M. Delong, and C.A. Triplehorn. An Introduction to the Study of Insects. 4th ed. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1976.

Carde, Ring, and Vincent H. Resh, eds. Encyclopedia of Insects. San Diego: Academic Press, 2003.


d'Aguilar, J., J.L. Dommanget, and R. Prechac. A Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain, Europe and North Africa. London: Collins, 1986.


Herndon G. Dowling

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Globe-skimmer

—One of the most widely distributed of all dragonflies.

Naiad

—The aquatic larval stage of dragonflies.

Thorax

—The body region of insects that supports the legs and wings.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Dragonflies." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Dragonflies." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonflies-0

"Dragonflies." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dragonflies-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly ★½ 2002 (PG-13)

I see dead performances. Cheesy, self-gratifying supernatural snorer has Costner as Chicago's dour ER doctor Joe Darrow, righteously widowed when his doctor wife bites the dust tending to the poor in Venezuela, while pregnant, no less. Unable to accept her death, Darrow is convinced she's trying to contact him from Beyond as he receives a series of cryptic messages, some from the children in his wife's pediatric oncology ward. Darrow's talking parrot provides some of the sillier scenes in this slow-paced, must-miss melodrama. Bates as the neighbor manages to liven up her scenes, anyway. Director Shadyac (“Patch Adams”) certainly didn't want his lead here displaying any of his other doctor's kid-loving antics, and glum and glummer Costner is a dutiful downer as he pumps the kids in the ward for info about his dead wife. 103m/C VHS, DVD . US Kevin Costner, Joe Morton, Susanna Thompson, Ron Rifkin, Linda Hunt, Kathy Bates, Jay Thomas, Matt Craven, Robert Bailey Jr., Lisa Banes, Jacob Smith; D: Tom Shadyac; W: David Seltzer, Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson; C: Dean Semler; M: John Debney.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Dragonfly." VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Dragonfly." VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/culture-magazines/dragonfly

"Dragonfly." VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/culture-magazines/dragonfly

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.