A dragonfly is an insect that has huge compound eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated, sometimes iridescent body. Dragonflies possess six legs, but they are not capable of walking. They use their legs to hold prey. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but dragonflies hold their wings away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Both dragonflies and damselflies are predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, and butterflies. They have freely movable heads and sharp mouthparts to chew up insects.
Dragonflies live around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, called nymphs, are aquatic. Adults can fly in six directions: upward, downward, forward, back, and side to side. That is because unlike other insects, they can move their wings independently. Dragonflies also fly very quickly compared to other insects. Adults live five or six months.
Thank you, Laurie Sheppard, for the photos below. Click on each thumbnail to enlarge.
Halloween Pennant by Laurie Sheppard
Roseate Skimmer by Rick Cantu
Fragile Forktale by Laurie Sheppard
Blue Dasher Male
Blue Dasher Female
Checkered Setwing Male
Checkered Setwing Female
Common Whitetail Male
Common Whitetail Female
Eastern Amberwing Female
Eastern Pondhawk Male
Eastern Pondhawk Female
Flag-tailed Spiny Leg
Red Saddlebags Female
Roseate Skimmer Immature
Variegated Meadohawk Female
Widow Skimmer Female
Widow Skimmer Female top view
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Special thanks to Nancy Miller for the amazing photo of the Visitor Center