Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Sheila. Sheila Wonders, “Dragonflies” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sheila!

Do you love the great outdoors? Many people see summer as the perfect time to enjoy nature. They go on hikes, camping trips, or even just long walks. If that sounds like you, you may have run across the subject of today’s Wonder of the Day before.

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 for a long time. Experts believe they existed over 300 million years ago. One fossil reveals that ancient dragonflies may have had a wingspan of over two feet (about 76 centimeters)! The largest dragonfly alive today lives in Costa Rica. Its wingspan is just a little over seven inches (or about 18 centimeters).

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 of up to 30,000 separate lenses! Its eyes enable a dragonfly to see all around it. Unfortunately, despite their many lenses, dragonflies don’t 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 60 miles per hour.

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

Right after dragonflies hatch, they are called nymphs. They may live in the water for several years. 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.

Where can you find dragonflies? Just about anywhere! In fact, there are about 3,000 different types of dragonflies around the world.

Various cultures have seen dragonflies differently over the years. In Europe, for example, dragonflies have often been viewed as evil. In Japan, though, they are seen as symbols of courage, strength, and happiness. There, people often feature dragonflies in art and literature, particularly haiku.

Have you ever seen a dragonfly? Could you see where it got its name? Maybe you were inspired to write a beautiful poem about it yourself! Many people consider dragonflies some of the most beautiful insects around.

Standards: NGSS.LS1.A, NGSS.LS1.D, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, NCAS.A.1, NCAS.A.2, NCAS.A.3,

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We sure hope tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day blows up!