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An aggregation of globe skimmers, Pantala flavescensduring migration Dragonflies Dragon flies on every continent except Antarctica. In contrast to the damselflies Zygopterawhich tend to have restricted distributions, some genera and species are Dragon flies across continents.
For example, the blue-eyed darner Rhionaeschna multicolor lives all across North America, and in Central America;  emperors Anax live throughout the Americas from as far north as Newfoundland to as far south as Bahia Blanca in Argentina,  across Europe to central Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Most Anisoptera species are tropical, with far fewer species in temperate regions. They are not native to Icelandbut individuals are occasionally swept in by strong Dragon flies, including a Hemianax ephippiger native to North Africa, and an unidentified darter species.
Dragonflies suborder Anisoptera are heavy-bodied, strong-flying insects that hold their wings horizontally both in flight and at rest. By contrast, damselflies suborder Zygoptera have slender bodies and fly more weakly; most species fold their wings over the abdomen when stationary, and the eyes are well separated on the sides of the head.
It has a chitinous exoskeleton of hard plates held together with flexible membranes. The head is large with very short antennae. It is dominated by the two compound eyeswhich cover most of its surface.
The compound eyes are made up of ommatidiathe numbers being greater in the larger species. Aeshna interrupta has ommatidia of two varying sizes, being large.
The facets facing downward tend to be smaller. Petalura gigantea has ommatidia of just one size. These facets provide complete vision in the frontal hemisphere of the dragonfly. Also, they have three simple eyes or ocelli. The mouthparts are adapted for biting with a toothed jaw; the flap-like labrumat the front of the mouth, can be shot rapidly forward to catch prey.
This arrester system is unique to the Odonata, and is activated when feeding and during tandem flight. The prothorax is small and is flattened dorsally into a shield-like disc which has two transverse ridges. The mesothorax and metathorax are fused into a rigid, box-like structure with internal bracing, and provides a robust attachment for the powerful wing muscles inside it.
The wings are long, veined, and membranous, narrower at the tip and wider at the base. The hindwings are broader than the forewings and the venation is different at the base.
The leading edge of each wing has a node where other veins join the marginal vein, and the wing is able to flex at this point. In most large species of dragonflies, the wings of females are shorter and broader than those of males.
Each has two short basal joints, two long joints, and a three-jointed foot, armed with a pair of claws. The long leg joints bear rows of spines, and in males, one row of spines on each front leg is modified to form an "eyebrush", for cleaning the surface of the compound eye. The abdomen is long and slender and consists of 10 segments.
There are three terminal appendages on segment 10; a pair of superiors claspers and an inferior. The second and third segments are enlarged, and in males, on the underside of the second segment has a cleft, forming the secondary genitalia consist of laminahamule, genital lobe and penis.
There is remarkable variations in the presence and the form of the penis and the related structures, the flagellumcornua and genital lobes. Sperm is produced at the 9th segment and is transferred to the secondary genitalia prior to mating. The male holds the female behind the head using a pair of claspers on the terminal segment.
In females, the genital opening is on the underside of the eighth segment and is covered by a simple flap vulvar lamina or an ovipositordepending on species and the method of egg-laying.
Dragonflies having simple flap shed the eggs in water, mostly in flight. Dragonflies having ovipositor, use it to puncture soft tissues of plants and place the eggs singly in each puncture they made. The lower jaw has a huge, extensible labiumarmed with hooks and spines, which is used for catching prey.
This labium is folded under the body at rest and struck out at great speed by hydraulic pressure created by the abdominal muscles. Water is pumped in and out of the abdomen through an opening at the tip.
The naiads of some clubtails Gomphidae that burrow into the sediment, have a snorkel-like tube at the end of the abdomen enabling them to draw in clean water while they are buried in mud. Naiads can forcefully expel a jet of water to propel themselves with great rapidity. Their overall coloration is often a combination of yellow, red, brown, and black pigments, with structural colours.
Blues are typically created by microstructures in the cuticle that reflect blue light. Greens often combine a structural blue with a yellow pigment.Dragonfly: Dragonfly, (suborder Anisoptera), any of a group of roughly 3, species of aerial predatory insects most commonly found near freshwater habitats throughout most of the world.
Damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) are sometimes also called dragonflies in that both are odonates (order Odonata). ODONATA OF MARYLAND & WASHINGTON D.C. Last update October 5, Additions in are bolded-underlined ANISOPTERA (DRAGONFLIES).
AN excellent and readable guide to dragonfly lifestyles, life stages, and to identifying commong dragonfliesand creating habitat for them in your backyard.
New Hall Valley Country Park is a nature conservation site situated north east of Birmingham in the town of Sutton Coldfield.
This former farmland covers acres of green belt countryside and forms a corridor between Walmley and Sutton town centre. A gorgeous tribute to the magic and mystique of dragonflies, with intimate photographs of their entire life cycle Almost without our noticing, dragonflies dart through our world, flying, seeing, hunting, mating.
Apr 18, · 10 Surprisingly Brutal Facts About Dragonflies. Andrew Handley April 18, Share 3K. Stumble 2K. Tweet. Pin +1 Share 1. Shares 6K. stated that one dragonfly they were studying went through thirty flies in quick succession—and would have kept eating, if it had more to eat.