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 Free images -  Odonata - Dragonflies & Damselflies

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Odonata is an order of carnivorous insects which include Dragonflies and Damselflies.  There are between 5,000 - 6,000 species.  Odonata are an indicator species for assessing habitat and water quality in wetlands, forests and lakeshore habitats.  The Order includes seven dragonfly and three common damselfly families, some of which include:  Skimmers (Libellulidae), Aeshnidae (Darners), Spiketails (Cordulegastridae), Clubtails (Gomphidae), Petal Tails (Petaluridae), Emeralds (Corduliidae) and Cruisers (Macromiidae).

Right:  Dragonfly png1
Download large (2895 x 1901) here.

These insects have large rounded heads, compound eyes, two pairs of long, transparent wings, elongated abdomens and legs built for catching prey.  Their long, slender abdomens have inspired names such as "Devil's Darning Needles" and "Horse Sticker" and "Mule Killer", however these insects do not sting and are harmless.  In fact, insects in the order Odonata are helpful for humans since they have great appetites and eat species we consider to be nuisances - mosquitoes, gnats, midges and other biting bugs that bother us during the summer months.

Males and females often have different colourings making identification to those of us who are not entomologists (scientists who study insects) difficult at times.  For example, just to make things difficult, some species change colour with age and seasons!  Some species body colours change temporarily in response to cooler temperatures.  Finally, some species develop a whitish or pale bluish waxy powder, known as pruinescence, covering their body and wings.

Did you know...

Odonates have compound eyes that have 10 - 30,000 individual lenses?  The eyes of dragonflies meet or almost meet at the top of their heads.  Damselfly eyes are widely spaced.

Odonates have six legs that are adapted for perching on narrow vegetation such as grasses.  While flying, the insects hold their legs in an oval basket shape, ready to scoop up those nasty mosquitoes.

Odonates lay one or a few eggs in water or on plants near wet places.  The eggs hatch to produce "nymphs" that live off the nutrients that were in the egg.  The nymphs are aquatic or semi-aquatic and spend most of their lives under the water. When the time is right, nymphs emerge from the water, cling to a nearby plant and emerge from their nymph shells to become flying dragon or damselflies.  As fliers, they live a brief life only to mate and die when the summer is over.  

Nymphs have stocky, short bodies with no wings, small eyes, longer antennae.  Dragonfly nymphs breathe through an organ in their rectum while damselfly nymphs breathe through external gills on their abdomen.

 

Dragonfly or Damselfly - What's the difference?

The quick answer:  adult Dragonflies cannot fold their wings along their back and are much bigger and thicker bodied. 

Although both are known for their helicopter-like flight and dazzling aerial feats,  Dragonflies have broad bodies and enormous eyes, while Damselflies are more slender and delicate. They are both very good hunters of flying insects and sometimes called Mosquito Hawks.  

Here are a few differences to look for: 


Dragonfly

Insects in the sub-order Anisoptera (meaning  "unequal-winged");

eggs are round & approx. 0.5 mm long;

nymphs are shorter & bulkier with gills located inside abdomen;

Back wings are usually shorter and broader than front wings;

Are usually larger, strongly flying insects that can be found flying well away from water;

When at rest, they hold their wings out from the body like a glider, often at right angles to it;

Their eyes are very large and usually touch, at least at a point;

Dragonflies eat while in flight.

 


Damselfly

Insects in the sub-order Zygoptera (meaning "yoke-winged");

eggs are cylindrical & approx. 1 mm long;

nymph abdomen is longer & narrower with 3 fin-like gills projecting from end;

All four wings are almost equal in size and shape;

Are usually smaller, weakly flying insects that are close to the water margins or water surface;

When at rest, most species hold their wings along the length of their abdomen or folded over their backs;

Their eyes are always separated, never touching;

Damselflies will land before eating.

 

  Did you know... 

that adult dragonflies can fly in six directions:  upwards, downwards, forward, back and side to side.

Right:  Dragonfly png2  (485 x 322) 

Did you know....

that odonates regulate their body temperature by changing body positions?  On hot days, some species hold their wings downward and raise their abdomens to reduce the amount of body surface exposed to the sun.

 

Did you also know....

that males hunt for mates trying to detect visual movement.  They can see for a distance up to thirty feet!  Odonates mate in what is called a "wheel" position.  Males transfer sperm from an opening at the tip of their abdomen to a secondary organ located near the thorax.  The female curves her abdomen downward and forward until it comes into contact with the sperm.

 

Odonata Photo Categories

Dragonfly - Chalk-fronted Corporal  [Ladonia julia]

- 6 images

Damselfly - Double-striped Bluet  [Enallagma basidens]

- 4 images

Dragonfly - Four-spotted Skimmer [Libellula quadrimaculata]

-  6 images 

Dragonfly - Horned Clubtail
[Agrigomphus cornutus]

- 10 images

Dragonfly - Racket-tailed Emerald [Dorocordulia libera]

- 12 images

Dragonfly - Dot-tailed Whiteface [Leucorrhinia intacta]

- 1 image

Hatching Nymphs

- 50 images of dragonflies emerging from nymphs.  Watch the wings unfurl and dry.

 

 

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Are You Baffled 
by Bugs ?

Did you know...

That all insects are bugs, but not all bugs are insects!

 


"I dreamed
 I was a butterfly,
 flitting around 
in the sky; 
then I awoke.  
Now I wonder:  
Am I a man 
who dreamt 
of being a butterfly, 
or am I a butterfly
dreaming 
that I am a man?"

~ Chuang Tse ~
Chinese philosopher

 

Insects have 3 body parts:  a head, thorax and abdomen.  They also have six legs and two antennae.

Spiders and Scorpions have eight legs and are not considered insects!

 

According to some sources, the total number of insect species is somewhere between 15 and 30 million!

There are 900,000 known species in the world.

 

Insane About Insects ?

 

Did you know...

Scorpions can live for more than one year without eating!

 

Mosquitoes have 47 teeth, but only the female mosquitoe bites using it's proboscis.

Fireflies, sometimes called Lightningbugs, are not true bugs or flies.  They are beetles!

Every year, insects eat about one third of the world's food crops.

Only male crickets can chirp.  They will chirp faster in warm weather.  

Most insects hatch from eggs.

The average bed contains 2-6 million dust mites!

 

Are You An Enthusiastic
Entomologist ?

Did you know...

Every year, the average person eats several insects while sleeping.  

Insects breath through a complicated network of air tubes called tracheae that open along the sides of the insects body.

Nearly all insect growth involves metamorphosis.

The average housefly lives only two weeks!

A female ladybug lays about 1000 eggs in her lifetime.

Honeybees fly at a speed of 13-15 mph.

Even though spiders have eight eyes, they still can't see very well.

A cockroach can live up to 9 days without its head!

 

 

 

 

 

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