Almost everyone has seen a dragonfly at least once in their lifetime. They’re big, colorful, and generally well-liked, as they kill many insect pests and leave us humans alone. But while these insects may seem pretty normal and you probably don’t get too excited whenever you see one, you might be surprised at some of the incredible things you don’t know about these rather amazing creatures. Here are some crazy facts about dragonflies that will blow your mind.
Dragonflies were actually one of the first insects to exist on the Earth, having come into existence around 300 million years ago. And no other insect can match them when it comes to aerial feats. Dragonflies are masters of flight, able to literally calculate the trajectory and speed of their prey and masterfully ambush them mid-flight. They also hold the record for the longest migration and can reach speeds of 18 miles per hour. But that’s not all! Dragonflies are super agile fliers, able to fly in any direction, including backwards and sideways, and can even hover in one spot. This incredible agility is due to their four wings being able to each move independently of each other, allowing them to alter each wing’s angle. They are basically the stealth fighter jets of the insect world. If you are a small bug such as a gnat or fly, beware because they have a 95 percent rate of success. That’s not even the most terrifying part. Dragonflies have incredibly sharp, serrated mandibles, which they use to tear apart their prey, first ripping their wings off to prevent them from being able to escape and then devouring their victim like a shark ripping into a seal.
Dragonflies also have eyes that are almost supernaturally powerful. These compound eyes make up most of their heads that have 30,000 facets, giving them almost 360-degree vision. Not only do they have unbelievable eyesight, but they are also able to discern an array of colors unimaginable to us humans. While every color we see is a combination of the colors red, blue, and green, dragonflies see combinations made up of as many as 30 different color variations. So, let’s see – that makes them ancient, all-seeing, razor-toothed, “fighter jet” flying mutant insect gods…in a nutshell.
What kind of conditions do you think caused dragonflies to develop so many incredible physical features?