Mayflies are a sub-species of dragonfly that live underwater for three years before emerging as adults and dying within hours. These fascinating insects lose their digestive systems upon becoming adults, hence their inevitable deaths. But mayflies are only one of about 8,600 dragonfly-related bugs, each with their own unique features.
The Green Darner, or the Anax junius, is another sub-species of the dragonfly. They reside in North America and have green bodies shaped like long sewing needles. The Green Darner’s eyes are so big that they touch the center of the insect’s head. In fact, dragonflies have the biggest eyes of all species in the insect kingdom.
The Helicopter Dragonfly, a killer dragonfly sub-species, has a wingspan measuring a whopping seven and a half inches. Its wings help it hover through the forests of Central and South America. This insect’s huge wings parallel its big appetite. The Helicopter Dragonfly hunts for arachnids—usually spiders; it lingers by a spider web and, if the spider is home, the dragonfly tackles it. Once the spider meets its demise, the dragonfly dismembers, decapitates, and devours it.
The Enallagma cyatherium, otherwise known as the Common Blue Damselfly, lives in freezing temperatures and can even survive at negative 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Small and thin, these cousins of the dragonfly fold their wings while they rest—a talent many dragonfly species don’t have. Fairly common, the Common Blue Damselfly zooms around eating small bugs off of plants.
These are only a few examples of the many bizarre dragonflies and dragonfly-related bugs that roam the Earth. Next time you see an interesting insect or dragonfly, stop and take the time to appreciate it. Each species is truly awe-inspiring in its own way.
[Source: The Kingfisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia]