Dragonflies are aquatic insects. The average lifespan of a dragonfly ranges from 6 months to several years. They actually spend up to two years in the water as nymphs. During this time period, they shed their skin several times.
There are about 5,000 species of dragonflies and damselflies. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. There are about 450 species found in the U.S.
Dragonflies fly like helicopters; they can fly up, down, forward, backward, and hovering. It is estimated they fly between 30 and 60 MPH.
Dragonflies have incredibly complex eyes. Each eye has up to 30,000 lenses.
Damselflies belong to the same family as dragonflies. They are smaller and don't fly as well as dragonflies. One thing that damselflies can do that dragonflies can't? Damselflies can put their wings parallel to their backs. Dragonflies have to have theirs out to the side at all times. Damselflies also cannot walk when they land. Also, the forewings and hindwings are typically identical.
So, let's play a game, shall we? Dragonfly or damselfly?
Key is at the bottom. Have fun!
Next time you are at the lake or river, keep in mind you are looking at a living fossil. Dragonflies and damselflies developed more than 300 million years ago!