About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

First winged insects: Dragonflies

Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve, over 300 million years ago. Fossil dragonflies have been found with wingspans of up to two feet. Today dragonflies have wingspans of only two to five inches, but their two pairs of transparent wings allow them to propel themselves upward, downward, forward, backward, and side to side.

Dragonflies’ eyes are so large they take up most of the head. This gives them incredible vision that encompasses almost every angle except right behind them. Which is good because, unfortunately for them, they are preyed upon by a number of birds, fish, reptiles, toads, frogs and more.

Fortunately for us dragonflies are big predators themselves and feed on variety of bugs including pesky mosquitoes and flies. They catch their insect prey by grabbing it with their feet. They’re so efficient in their hunting that, in one Harvard University study, the dragonflies caught 90 to 95 percent of the prey released into their enclosure. 

Thank you Lynn for sharing your wonderful photos! If anyone would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts.

Related Articles:
- Mosquito hawks http://goo.gl/f8ojiF
- Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?: http://bit.ly/nMo9uV
- A Very Tiny Hummingbird (Moth)?: http://bit.ly/qtrAaV
- Why did I take a picture of bird poop?: http://bit.ly/o9APHb
- Where does the Woolly Bear go in the winter?: http://bit.ly/pB5L4V