We have positively identified our emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) and to celebrate here are five fascinating facts about dragonflies.

  • Dragonflies have been around for 300 million years; there were dragonflies on Earth for 50 million years before there were dinosaurs.
  • The biggest modern dragonfly has a wingspan of about 15cm but fossil dragonflies have been found with a wingspan of over 60cm.
  • A dragonfly’s eyes cover nearly all of its head. It has incredible vision; it can see almost all the way around except directly behind itself.
  • Scientists track the flight of dragonflies by attaching tiny transmitters to them using eyelash glue.
  • Dragonflies are expert fliers. As well as flying forward with extraordinary agility, they can fly straight up and down and hover like a helicopter. Engineers are using the flight of the dragonfly to develop the latest drones.

Header picture: Emperor dragonfly by Ken Billington [CC BY-SA 3.0]

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