What You Should Know About Dragonflies

What You Should Know About Dragonflies

I have always wondered why dragonflies were named after something that’s mythical and why I knew so little about them until I got to researching. 

These insects have been roaming the surface of the earth since 300 million years ago since before the dinosaurs, they have basically stood the test of time.

Stealth Predator

Dragonflies, unlike mosquitoes, are harmless to humans but surprisingly they’re stealth predators who feast on other insects. They have the ability to calculate the speed at which their prey is moving and snag them mid-air (let that sink in for a second). Several insects stand no chance against this predator and if all your mosquito control methods seem to fail, I suggest making friends with some dragonflies.  

For an insect, it’s too fast compared to its counterparts doing about 18 miles per hour that’s about 28km/hr. Personally I can’t even jog at half that speed and the world record holder Eliud Kipchoge did 21.1Kph to make history in the sub-two-hour marathon. 

King of Color

Its compound eyes have a 360 vision and not only do they have excellent eyesight but they can see colors humans can’t imagine. According to New Scientist:

We humans have what’s known as tri-chromatic vision, which means we see colors as a combination of red, blue and green. This is thanks to three different types of light-sensitive proteins in our eyes, called opsins. We are not alone: di-, tri- and tetra-chromatic vision is de rigueur in the animal world, from mammals to birds and insects. Enter the dragonfly. A study of 12 dragonfly species has found that each one has no fewer than 11, and some a whopping 30, different visual opsins.

So if you think you’re color blind because you can’t tell the different shades of brown, imagine what it’s like if we had a dragon fly’s eyesight, we would have colors like cockroach brown, mosquito abdomen grey, and hen eggshell. 

But if you’re still wondering how do dragonflies see the world? Here is an interesting video by the BBC Earth.

The other exciting thing about these little creatures is that every time they mate, the females especially those in tropical areas can lay eggs in as little as five days (insert mind blown emoji).  

So the next time you see a dragonfly don’t be too quick to chase it out of your room, take time to notice its movements and beauty and please no matter what you do, don’t hit it, you may be killing a future generation.

Kahuma Walter

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