Do you love the great outdoors? If you’re like many Wonder Friends, summer is a time to spend enjoying nature by going on hikes or camping. If you spend much time outdoors, you’re likely to run across the subject of today’s Wonder of the Day before long.

Who is it? The dragonfly, of course! When you see a dragonfly up close, it’s easy to see how they got their name. They don’t actually breathe fire, but they do look a bit fierce like the mythical dragon they’re named after.

Dragonflies have been around a really long time. Experts believe dragonflies existed over 300 million years ago. A fossil has been found that reveals that ancient dragonflies may have had a wingspan of over two feet in width! The largest dragonfly alive today lives in Costa Rica and only has a wingspan of a little over seven inches.

One of the most striking features of the dragonfly is its large eyes. Unlike human eyes that have just one lens, dragonfly eyes are made up of up to 30,000 separate lenses! Its eyes enable a dragonfly to see all around it. Unfortunately, despite their many lenses, dragonfly eyes don’t allow them to see details very well.

Dragonflies are some of the fastest, best fliers in the insect world. They can fly in loops, hover and even fly backward. A dragonfly in Australia was measured flying at a speed of 36 miles per hour.

Dragonflies put their speed to good use. They are predators that eat other insects, including mosquitoes, gnats, flies, bees, ants and wasps.

When dragonflies are first hatched, they are called nymphs and they live in the water for up to a year. This is why you will often find dragonflies around water, such as marshes, lakes, ponds and wetlands. Once they leave the water and begin to fly, though, they only live for about a month.

Dragonflies can be found all over the world. In fact, there are over 5,000 different types of dragonflies around the world.

Dragonflies have been viewed differently by various cultures over the years. In Europe, for example, dragonflies have often been viewed as evil or sinister. In Japan, though, they are seen as symbols of courage, strength and happiness. The Japanese often feature dragonflies in art and literature, particularly haiku.

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    • Thanks for getting up bright and early to WONDER about dragonflies with us today, Logan! We like your guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder…they’re AWESOME! :-)

  1. I was very close to guess today’s wonder. :) I loved today’s wonder! :D I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about headaches.

    TJ

    • Thanks so much for letting us know you loved exploring today’s Wonder, TJ! We’re so happy to hear that! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis tomorrow to see if your guess about headaches is correct! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • We’re glad you’re back for another Wonder visit, Samuel! Thanks for sharing that you also think tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® is about headaches! We’ll all have to wait to find out! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, Logan! Thanks so much for sharing it with us today and THANK YOU for checking out this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  2. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about something that is really hard to do, like homework and can give you a headache.

    • That’s a SUPER great guess for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®, “Wonder!” We like the way your Wonder brain thinks! :-)

  3. I loved today’s wonder. Dragonflies are my favorite insect! I had fun learning about Dragonflies. I never would have thought their eyes were made up of 30,000 lenses!
    ~Betsy

    • We thought the dragonfly eye lens fact was pretty cool to learn about, too, Betsy! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today and letting us know you loved today’s Wonder! We think dragonflies ROCK, too! :-)

  4. That was a very creative wonder of today! lol I think tomorrow’s wonder will be on brain freezes, since they give people headaches!

    • We like that guess for tomorrow’s Wonder a lot, deantesman! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today and WONDERing about dragonflies! :-)

  5. Hello again. Today was a wonderful wonder or the day. I really still wonder about dragonflies. I wonder how tall can they get? and if they come in different colors?

    Thanks again for the wonder. Your wonder friend from Minnesota

    • That’s some REALLY creative thinking, Kate! We’re not sure what dragonflies do for a living…maybe they are pilots because they like to fly? Maybe they are artists because they wear beautiful colors? It’s FUN to WONDER this way! Thank you for leaving us such a GREAT comment! :-)

    • Hi, Jocelyn! Thanks so much for letting us know what you thought about this Wonder of the Day®! We appreciate your comment and your opinion! We hope you have a WONDERful week ahead! :-)

    • We like that question a lot, Haley and Elaine! It’s AWESOME that you guys are WONDERing more about dragonflies after exploring this Wonder about them together! Here is a really cool page on the San Diego Zoo’s website that features ALL KINDS of awesome facts about dragonflies, including some about how big they can grow: http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-dragonfly.html. :-)

  6. Wonderopolis, I loved this post! Dragonflies are wonderful creatures, and I wonder about them, as well. You have answered many of my questions on the subject, Thank You!

    I personally like photographing dragonflies up close. If you are patient and calm, they are too :) Incredible insects. If you want to read more about how I am able to approach dragonflies and photograph them from mere centimeters away, check out my blog @ http://mrbsreads.com/?p=276

    • Those are some REALLY great dragonfly photos, Steve! We agree, they are incredible insects! Thanks so much for sharing your comment with us today! We’re so glad you stopped by Wonderopolis and visited this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  7. why are dragonflies called dragonflies is it because they are like dragons I don’t know can you please tell me why Wonderopolis?

    • Hi Madi, dragonflies look mythical, which is why they are named after dragons. Unlike bees, dragonflies don’t sting at all! :)

  8. We learned so much today about dragonflies! We were interested in their compound eyes and the fact that they can’t see details. We also learned that the largest dragonfly is found in Australia. One of our classmates has family in Japan so she was very interested to learn that the dragonfly is a symbol of happiness. We are still wondering lots too. Why are their eyes so big? How do they fly so fast? How are they blue? Do they have scales like dragons?

    • Happy Earth Day, Mrs. Kannass’ Class! We are so happy that you are learning all these WONDERful facts about dragonflies with us today! You have lots of great Wonder Questions, too! Thanks for sharing with us today! :-)

    • Hello, Andrew! Well, even if they can’t have a great day, we certainly hope you have a WONDERful day! Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Wonder Friend! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do dragonflies breathe fire?
  • How long have dragonflies been around?
  • How big do dragonflies get?

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Ready to have some dragonfly fun? Check out these fun online activities and crafts that you and your friends and family can enjoy together!

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