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Photo Courtesy: images/dragonfly


​I always remember this guy from my childhood days at the fishing ponds, swooping and swerving, as if dancing to music.  He is an insect who belongs to the order Odonata.  It has multifaceted eyes, each facet is called an ommatidium, which, in turn provides the insect with a complex eye with which to see.  Most of their life is spent as an aquatic freshwater nymph.  Their adult life lasts anywhere from six months to around six years.

The dragonfly is used for medicine in China and Japan, and as food in Indonesia.  They are predators and once them become an adult, they feed on bees, gnats, termites,  ants, and other insects.  They can catch them in flight by using their legs like a basket, or net, and snare their prey in mid-air.  They can eat the equivalent of their weight in approximately 30 minutes.

Dragonflies are found throughout the world.   There are more than 5,500  species of them.   That’s a lot of dragonflies!  Just be careful that you don’t mistake a dragonfly for a damselfly, though.  The main physical differences are:  The Dragonfly eyes almost touch at the top of the head, while the damselfly eyes are located on either side of the head.  The dragonfly body is more stocky and the damselfly has a more elongated and slender body.  In the resting position, the dragonfly wings are usually held open, horizontal, or downward, while the damselfly holds its wings closed over the abdomen.  As you can see, it can be a bit confusing to identify each one.