A male broad bodied chaser (c) John Murray


Dragonflies are marvels of aerodynamic engineering. The adult beats its two sets of wings out of phase and can control both frequency and amplitude. The angle of the two sets can be controlled independently, allowing for some astonishing aerial manoeuvres, spectacular hovering and flight in any direction. Dragonflies love the world's wet places as their nymphs remain aquatic for months or even years. Both nymphs and adults are voracious predators: an adult will eat just about any insect it can capture in flight, especially mosquitos. Thousands of dragonfly species have been identified, differentiated by wing colour patterns and venations.

Did you know?
Dragonflies can fly backwards, change direction in mid-air and hover for up to a minute.

Scientific name: Anisoptera

Rank: Infraorder

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The Dragonflies can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Amazon Rainforest, Asia, Australia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, South America, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

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The following habitats are found across the Dragonflies distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Fossil types

Learn more about the other animals and plants that also form these fossils.

Amber Amber
Amber owes its existence to the defence mechanisms of certain kinds of tree. When the bark is punctured or infected, a sticky resin oozes out to seal the damage and sterilise the area.

BBC News about Dragonflies

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