pink and purple dragonfly landing on a stem

Dragonfly Facts for Kids

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Have you ever wondered why dragonflies have such a cool name? They are fascinating creatures, voracious hunters thus the name. Read on for more dragonfly facts for kids. Learning bug facts is so interesting and fun!

close up of a dragonfly looking at you

Dragonflies come in a variety of colors and sizes. There are over 5,000 species! 450 of these live in the United States. They live in warmer climates near water. When they are born, they live in the water, so that’s why they are near it. Like mosquitoes, dragonflies lay their eggs in water.

They eat mosquitoes and other small insects. Predators of dragonflies are frogs, birds, spiders, fish, or newts as well as bigger dragonflies. They spend much of their life in the water.

  • Common Name: Dragonfly
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Odonata
  • Superorder: Epiprocta
  • Infraorder: Anisoptera

Dragonfly anatomy

Dragonflies have 6 legs, a thorax, a head, and an abdomen, so they are a true insect. They are great fliers, and can go up to 30 miles per hour, wow! They are the fastest insect in the world, but they aren’t very good at walking. They can also fly backward! WOW!

They can be identified by their long body, transparent wings, and large compound eyes. Dragonflies are sometimes confused with damselflies. The easiest way to tell the two apart is by looking at their wings. A dragonfly’s wings are flat and extended out from their bodies. A damselfly’s wings will fold when it’s resting, above or along its body.

They may try to bite, but their mouths are so small they cannot break the skin or hurt a person. They cannot sting or bite.

They have two sets of wings which help them fly because they don’t have to beat each set as often.

blue and black dragonfly on a stick from the top view

Facts about dragonflies

  • Dragonflies can capture their prey in mid-air.
  • The largest dragonflies are in Australia with 6-inch wingspans. Scientists have found dragonfly fossils with 27 to 29-inch wingspans!
  • Some species can eat 100 mosquitoes every day.
  • According to Harvard University, dragonflies are one of the most effective hunters. It’s estimated they can catch up to 95% of the prey they attempt to capture.
  • Dragonflies wait for the sun to warm them before they start flying around for the day.
  • Dragonflies have amazing eyesight. Their two large eyes are made up of thousands of smaller eyes, or compound eyes, and give them nearly 360-degree vision. It’s estimated they used around 80% of their brain to process visual information.
  • The average flying speed of a dragonfly is around 9.9 miles per hour.
  • They only beat their wings about 30 times per second. A bee beats theirs 300 times per second.
  • Dragonflies have a three-stage lifecycle. They start out as an egg, hatch into a nymph (larva), then molt and become an adult dragonfly.
  • A dragonfly will spend much of its life as a nymph (larva) in the water. (About a year)
  • When they are old enough to fly and leave the water, they live about one month.
  • Female dragonflies can lay up to 1,500 eggs at one time.
  • Male dragonflies are territorial and defend their territory aggressively.
  • A group of dragonflies is called a swarm.
  • Dragonflies cannot heal snakes (there is a myth they can).

Dragonflies are one of my favorite insects in the garden. Years ago, I saw someone sing to one and pet it so I try to do that every time I see one. Most of them flitter off quickly, but 3 times I’ve been able to pet one. It’s amazing! Here’s a video of one of the times. It’s a magical experience. I hope you’ve enjoyed these dragonfly facts for kids. I know I love learning more about them any time I can.

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