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How Are Dragonflies Different from Other Insects?

The distinctive-looking dragonfly, with its eerie eyes and four paper-thin wings, is usually found flitting around lakes, ponds, and other wetlands, feeding on bothersome insects such as mosquitoes and flies. Dragonflies have six legs, but they cannot walk. Instead, the appendages are used for catching and holding prey, or for perching on plants.

The legs of their larvae, however, are used for ambulation. When a dragonfly larva, known as a nymph, is ready to metamorphose into an adult, it climbs up a reed or other aquatic plant, and finds a dry place to emerge.

An insect with a long past:

  • There are about 5,300 species of dragonflies. The insects have been around for about 300 million years.
  • The larval stage of some dragonflies, spent under water, can last as long as five years.
  • It is easy to mistake the damselfly for the dragonfly because they look alike, but adult damselflies have thinner, more delicate bodies.
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