Have you ever asked yourself, Do dragonflies bite? Or maybe you’ve wondered if there is any insect which can hold its own around a tarantula? There are a lot of “bugs” and animals on this earth, but would you believe that about 95 percent of all animals are insects? Many of us fail to appreciate the truly unique skills that many insects have, or the physical traits that enable their very survival. We are going to take a glance into the world of bugs with the following interesting bug facts (as well as answer the question in the title, do dragonflies bite?).
Table of Contents
- These whimsical insects are equipped with two sets of wings which allows them to not flap them so often in flight.
- Some dragonflies can fly as fast as 36 miles per hour.
- Costa Rica houses some dragonfly varieties with wingspans of almost eight inches.
- Dragonflies are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica.
- The “Devil’s Darning Needle” has been a nickname given to dragonflies in folklore. They were believed to fly about and find bad children, sewing their mouths shut while the slept.
- Dragonflies can see in every direction but they have a hard time seeing detail.
The dragonfly lifespan depends entirely on the exact variety that it is, living conditions and predators. They have been around well over 300 million years which makes them one of the world’s oldest species. It is believed that they have been successful through the years by the way that they mature so slowly. The dragonfly lifespan consists of three very different stages being egg, nymph and finally adult. The exact length of every stage differs from species to species and location to location.
Dragonflies begin their lives as eggs. Once breeding has taken place, the female dragonfly finds a suitable marsh or pond to lay her eggs. They are only laid in very still water or else they could end up traveling into areas where fish feed.
The eggs are laid on mud banks, submerged aquatic plants or sometimes even directly on the surface of the water. A female dragonfly has the ability to lay hundreds or even thousands of eggs throughout her life, depending on species.
In areas where temperature drops down below freezing, the eggs will not hatch until spring of the following year while those in tropical regions can hatch in as little as five days.
The next stage in the dragonfly lifespan begins when the eggs hatch and become nymphs. These do not at all resemble their adult stage in appearance or personality as these are voracious predators. Nymphs shed their skin as many as 12 times and some species live in this stage for as long as 4 years.
Dragonflies dwelling in regions with freezing temperatures in the winter spend a substantial amount of time in the nymph stage in comparison to those that live in tropical regions. The nymphs are aquatic, finding their homes in marshes and ponds until they emerge when they molt their final time. This final molting is an intense process as the nymph’s skin completely splits and the adult dragonfly emerges.
The final stage in the dragonfly lifespan for some species is the shortest cycle. In tropical regions, a nymph can become an adult at any time during the year but in other locations, this happens in the end of spring or the beginning of summer. It often take an adult a good month to fully mature after shedding its nymph skin.
During this maturing period, the dragonfly’s sex organs develop, their markings emerge and their colors become bright. At this time, they leave their marsh or pond that has been their home until then.
Adults are also fierce predators, catching and feeding on flies, mosquitoes and other insects while they are flying. They are one of the most mysterious fliers in the animal kingdom as they can fly forward, backwards, sideways and even hover.
Once an adult female is completely developed, she will often mate with quite a few males before she lays her eggs. Male and female dragonflies generally live less than four months as an adult. Dragonflies will often live to be five years old spending the majority of their lives as nymphs.
Ever wondered why cockroaches are so hard to get rid of? It may have something to do with the fact that one female can produce over two million babies in just one year! It is believed that the male cicada is the loudest insect around, but a flea can jump over 130 times its body height. The dragonfly is the fastest known insect on earth and was clocked maintaining a flight speed around 36 miles per hour with bursts of speed around 60 miles per hour. The Tanzanian parasitic wasp is the smallest insect known to man at the mere size of a fly’s eyeball. An ant can lift up to fifty times its own weight and pull about thirty times its weight.
Mosquitoes are one of the most deadly insects to humans in terms of numbers killed, as an estimated two million deaths occur each year due to the transmission of diseases through mosquito bites. The rhinoceros beetle can lift around 850 times its own weight, winning it the title of the strongest insect in the world. A cricket’s legs contain ears. The praying mantis can rotate its head 360 degrees and has only one ear. The black widow spider’s poison is more venomous than a rattlesnake’s, which makes it the most poisonous spider. A cockroach can live nine days without its head before it dies of dehydration. Monarch butterflies are extremely light—it takes about a hundred of them to weight one ounce. Houseflies can taste with their feet. The sting of a tarantula wasp can paralyze a tarantula, where it then lays its eggs inside the spider.
Strength in Numbers
Insects eat about 33 percent of the world’s crops, which is understandable as just ten square feet of country land holds more insects than there are humans on the entire planet. One out of every four animals is a beetle. In fact, beetles are the largest order of insects with about 300,000 different species. The typical bed is thought to possess about three million dust mites! The largest colony of insect ever found was of the Argentine ants. The average bee hive contains between 20,000 and 60,000 bees, and it takes about ten stings per pound of body weight to kill a human.
The largest insect in body size to weight ratio is the goliath beetle, but the giant walking stick is the longest averaging at just over a foot in length with the largest recorded one being 22 inches long. The atlas moth is about as large as a bat with a wingspan around a foot. The Asian hornet is the largest species of wasp in the world. They are larger than an acorn and can kill about 40 average bees within a minute. Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is the largest butterfly with a wingspan over a foot wide. The Amazonian giant centipede is about a foot in length and it munches on large frogs, birds, tarantulas, and bats!
And finally, to answer the question of do dragonflies bite: no, they do not! Even the largest dragonfly can only attempt to bite human flesh, however it cannot pierce it!