Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another DotD

Dragonfly of the Day: Blue Dasher. This is a female, thus she is not actually blue at all. The males are quite blue in the abdomen.

Some fun facts about dragonflies:
  • Their insect c lass, odonata, means tooth-jaw and actually refers to the aquatic nymph, rather than the ephemeral air-born adult. Dragonflies live underwater for a few months to five years, but generally spend less than a month living as adults. (The exception is migratory dragonflies, of which we have a few in Illinois.)
  • Dragonfly fossils have been found that allow scientists to place them on earth at least 300 MYA.
  • Some of these ancient dragonfly fossils have wingspans of over 2 feet, making them the largest insects ever to grace planet earth (that we know about). Today, the largest dragonfly species has a wingspan of about 7 inches, but you have to go to the tropics to see that.
  • Dragonflies' huge compound eyes have over 30,000 lenses and allow them a 360 degree field of vision.
  • Dragonflies can hover and even fly backwards. They catch insects on the wing (as opposed to their damselfly cousins, who sometimes eat insects right off of plants).

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