dragonflies

Based on fossils of ancient dragonflies, we know these winged insects have been soaring around for at least 300 million years. These colorful insects have sharp mandibles that they use to chew their prey. But don't worry: they only use their jaws to chomp on pesky insects like mosquitoes—not people! They spend most of their time flying through the air in search of food and mates.

dragonflies Order: Odonata
Size: two to four inches long
Range: marshes, wetlands, parks, and gardens throughout the world
Diet: other insects
Characteristics: have large compound eyes; can be violet, green or red; are very strong fliers
Significance: helps keep insect populations down by eating creatures like mosquitoes, which can spread disease

Image credits: main image: courtesy of Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences.