Young dragonflies, called larvae or sometimes nymphs or naiads, are aquatic and are as dedicated predators under water as the adults are in the air. zbeckabee. Why is the head of a dragonfly full of eyes? Larvae crawl from eggs laid in or near water. Having reached sexual maturity, this new generation will start searching for mates and begin the life cycle again. In layman’s terms I have tried to present the researched information about these beautiful insects in a way for all to understand, so that young readers or older readers might enjoy learning a few interesting facts about them. Before and after mating, dragonflies often fly in tandem, with the male towing the female in flight using claspers at the tip of his abdomen to grip the back of her head. At the end of the mask is a set of fanglike pincers used to seize prey such as worms, crustaceans, tadpoles, and small fish. Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! The dragonfly’s speed and agility contribute to its being one of the most effective aerial predators. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Examples include the hawkers (Aeshnidae), petaltails (Petaluridae), and clubtails (Gomphidae). Some overwinter in either the egg or nymphal stage; but in some of the larger species of dragonflies the nymphal stage can last more than 2 years. Enter your name and email address below to subscribe. Dragonflies have a more powerful build and are generally much stronger fliers than damselflies. Water can be forcibly expelled in this way, resulting in jet propulsion as a means of escape. Even the smallest species are about 20 mm (0.8 inch) across. Question #107700. Called the “mask,” it is a fusion of the larva’s third pair of mouthparts. This article was most recently revised and updated by, Distinguishing characteristics and flight behaviour, https://www.britannica.com/animal/dragonfly, dragonfly - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), dragonfly - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Adult dragonflies have voracious appetites, and can be observed hunting other flying insects, particularly small flies, on sunny days. After mating the female dragonfly carries her eggs and gently places it on still water as running or moving water might wash away all the eggs to fish feeding areas. Dragonfly wing muscles must be warm to function optimally, and so, if cool, the insect often engages in wing-whirring and basking in the sun to generate heat before taking flight. Dragonfly, (suborder Anisoptera), also called darner, devil’s arrow, or devil’s darning needle, any of a group of roughly 3,000 species of aerial predatory insects most commonly found near freshwater habitats throughout most of the world. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The winged adults are diversely coloured in a variety of shades ranging from metallic to pastel. The final, and perhaps most important lesson of the dragonfly lies in its short life span. Disproportionately large, the mask folds beneath both the head and thorax when it is not in use. The life-expectancy of adults is short, typically no more than a week or two, but sometimes they can last 6–8 weeks. Numerous other names related to neither taxonomy nor fact have traditionally been applied to dragonflies, such as horse stinger. Let it teach you to look out for the gifts and beauty that you encounter each day. They live a complete life in only seven months. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Solid waste is also expelled in this manner. Originally posted Aug 04 2009 9:21 PM. Life Expectancy of House Flies. What is the life expectancy of a woodpecker bird. These wing sheaths then enlarge rapidly with each successive molt. Some species lay their eggs inside plant tissue, others attach their eggs to substrates at or above the water’s surface, and some may drop or wash their eggs from their abdomen onto water. Eventually, the larva crawls out of the water (often at night) and molts one last time, emerging as an adult and leaving behind a cast skin (exuvia). Predaceous insects with biting mouthparts; 2 pairs of elongate membranous wings, each with a complex network of small crossveins and a conspicuous stigma; compound eyes very large and prominent; antennae short and filiform (threadlike); abdomen elongated and slender with male accessory armature on…. In addition, dragonflies rest with their wings spread horizontally, rather than held vertically against each other (with the exception of one very small family, Epiophlebiidae). Compared with other insects, they are large, with some having wingspans of up to 16 cm (about 6 inches). Fossil dragonfly, a form dating to the Late Jurassic Period. Some species live as adults for weeks and some species live for several months. In fact, the pesky dragonfly is often used as symbols in Japanese and … Initially, the dragonfly is out for hunting their respective mating partners. Nymph stage. Dragonfly, any of a group of roughly 3,000 species of aerial predatory insects most commonly found near freshwater throughout most of the world. What is the life expectancy of the Bengal tiger? Life cycle of a dragonfly is divided into three simple stages: the egg, the nymph and the adult. Appreciate the life that you have, as you don’t know when your final day will come. A period life table is based on the mortality experience of a population during a relatively short period of time. The male and female contort themselves into the “wheel” position before sperm is transferred. Some overwinter in either the egg or nymphal stage; but in some of the larger species of dragonflies the nymphal stage can last more than 2 years. The abdomen draws water in and pumps it out again through the anus. As the larva grows, it molts, its future wings first becoming apparent about halfway through the larva’s development. The wing consists of cuticular sacs that bud out from the wall of the thorax; the sacs become flattened during development, and the…, Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies) WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A DRAGONFLY? Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. How are dragonflies able to glide for 30 seconds without loss of altitude. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... What is the physical phenomenon that allows some insects to walk across water? Damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) are sometimes also called dragonflies in that both are odonates (order Odonata). Dragonflies, like damselflies, exhibit a mating posture unique to the Odonata. Their shape, metabolism, and respiration differ concordantly with the microhabitat they occupy. Houseflies pass through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. They spend most of their life in water as nymphs—from months to several years, depending on the species—and only a few weeks flying about as an adult. http://www.helium.com/items/766069-life-span-of-a-dragonfly. The life expectancy of a housefly is generally 15 to 30 days and depends upon temperature and living conditions. More-advanced insects, including flies (Diptera), work their wings indirectly by muscles that attach to other parts of the…, …each side, as in some dragonflies (Odonata), or held erect above the body, as in mayflies (Ephemeroptera); in most insects, however, they are folded against the abdomen. Why are Moths and Bright Lights Inseparable? Small flying insects are the usual fare, but some dragonflies regularly consume prey that is 60 percent of their own weight. Many dragonfly families have descriptive common names associated with their scientific names. Dragonflies also have huge bulging eyes that occupy most of the head, giving some a field of vision approaching 360 degrees. Last updated Aug 04 2009. They spend most of their life in water as nymphs—from months to several years, depending on the species—and only a few weeks flying about as an adult.