Outdoors Journal: Dragonflies are superb flyers

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: June 19, 2009 - 7:59 AM
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A dragonfly lands on a blade of grass.

Photo: Mark Wilson, Roswell Daily Record via AP

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Dragonflies are relatively large and often beautifully colored insects that spend much time on the wing in darting and rapid flights. An expert hunter, the dragonfly has a streamlined body and glistening wings that carry it through the air at speeds of 30 miles per hour or more; each pair of wings strokes alternately, the front pair going up while the hand pair is going down, at a rate of 30 or 40 strokes per second. A dragonfly can hover in the air or suddenly dart upward, downward or to one side. It is capable of eating its own weight in food in half an hour. It may sweep a resting insect into its jaws, but mainly it catches insects while they are in flight, usually with its six spiny legs creating a kind of basket.

JIM GILBERT

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