General Dragonfly Information

Dragonflies or Odonata (Greek for toothed jaw) belong to an ancient order which traces its lineage back to the Carboniferous period, roughly 300 to 350 million years ago. The hay-day of Odonata evolution occurred during this period in earths history when a primitive Odonate, Meganeura monyi, with a ~75 cm wingspan was darting through the air. Todays Odonates are much smaller, with the largest having only a 17 cm wingspan.  Modern dragonflies are divided into three sub-orders: Zygoptera - the damselflies, Anisoptera - the true dragonflies and Anisozygoptera.  These sub-orders are further divided into 33 families with about 5500 species worldwide.  The Anisozygoptera consist of only one family with two species in Asia.  Anatomically all Odonates have the following characteristics: biting mouth parts, a long narrow abdomen, large compound eyes, small thread-like antennae, cannot fold their wings flat over their abdomen (paleopterous) and have two pairs of membranous veined wings.








Dragonflies in the Fossil Record


Dragonfly Anatomy


Dragonfly Metamorphosis






Habitat and Food



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