12 Fascinating Facts About the Dragon Fly

Dragon flies are insects of the order Odonata. About 4,870 species of the dragon fly are known to exist all over the world but they are especially common in tropical areas. Generally, dragon flies range in length from two to twenty centimeters, but the Meganeura monyi – which flourished in the Carboniferous period more than 250 million years ago – had a wingspan of more than 70 cm and was the largest insect ever known to exist on the Earth. Here are some fascinating facts about the dragon fly.

dragon fly facts

Almost 80% of the dragon fly’s muscles are devoted to flight and it out powers all other winged insects in flight.

  • Dragon flies are among the most powerful and versatile of all flying insects clocked up to 95 km/h.
  • They can lift more than double their own weight – an achievement that man-made aircraft cannot approach.
  • Dragon flies can take off backwards, accelerate very rapidly, execute an unbanked turn in forward motion, come to a dead stop in an instant, hover, and even somersault in the heat of combat.
  • The US Air Force has actually funded wind-tunnel research on dragonflies on how they do it.
  • One-third to one-half of a dragon fly’s body is devoted to flight muscles and they out power all other winged insects in flight.
  • Each of the dragon fly’s bulbous eyes contains up to 30,000 lenses, and its field of vision encompasses nearly 360 degrees.
  • A dragon fly perched in the grass can spot a gnat a meter away, zip out, grab it and retreat to its perch to eat – all in just over a second.
  • The dragonflies have also attracted mostly unflattering mythology because of their appearance. One branch of folklore holds that dragonflies are servants of snakes and revive them from the dead.
  • In southern United States, they are referred to as ‘snake doctors’,
  • Dragonflies have also been called ‘devil’s darning needles’, supposedly capable of stitching together the lips of wicked children in their sleep.
  • They have also been reviled as ‘eye stickers’ or ‘mule killers’.
  • ‘Mosquito hawk’ is one of the common names for the dragon fly due to its ability to voraciously devour mosquitoes.

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