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any insectinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 of the order Odonata, which also includes the damselfly. Members of this order are generally large predatory insects and characteristically have chewing mouthparts and four membranous, net-veined wings; they undergo complete metamorphosismetamorphosis
[Gr.,=transformation], in zoology, term used to describe a form of development from egg to adult in which there is a series of distinct stages. Many insects, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, and fishes undergo metamorphosis, which may involve a change in habitat,
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. Species are found throughout the world except in the polar regions; the greatest variety occurs in the tropics.

Dragonflies, which are commonly called horse stingers and devil's darning needles, are strong fliers with elongated bodies; they rest with their wings outstretched. Some are 5 in. (12.7 cm) long. Damselflies are generally smaller, with slender, often brilliantly colored, bodies and rest with their wings folded back. The giant helicopter damselfly of tropical America has a wingspan of 7.5 in. (19 cm).

Both dragonflies and damselflies lay eggs on or near water. The nymphs are aquatic and breathe by means of gills located at the end of the abdomen; the gills can also be used for propulsion through the water. The nymphs feed on insect larvae and are an important food for fish and birds. When grown, they crawl up out of the water and molt. Most species produce a single generation each year, with the nymph stage usually overwintering. Both nymphs and adults prey on mosquitoes and other insects and are harmless, indeed beneficial, to humans.

Fossil remains of a form from the Permian period, with a wingspread of 2 1-2 ft (76 cm), have been found. Modern dragonflies and damselflies are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Odonata.


(invertebrate zoology)
Any of the insects composing six families of the suborder Anisoptera and having four large, membranous wings and compound eyes that provide keen vision.


1. any predatory insect of the suborder Anisoptera, having a large head and eyes, a long slender body, two pairs of iridescent wings that are outspread at rest, and aquatic larvae: order Odonata
2. any other insect of the order Odonata
References in periodicals archive ?
The mobile phone app, iRecord Dragonflies, is being launched to help people identify and record sightings of the insects as part of efforts to study and conserve them.
As mosquito hunters, dragonflies are valuable allies.
We would expect to see an increase in numbers of mosquitoes and midges which prefer stagnant and isolated water, but we may also see a drop in the numbers of dragonflies emerging this spring.
There are two (2) school (elementary school and junior high school Pesucen Pesucen) around the village Kalongan Pesucen and one (1) school (SMA Negeri 2 Giri Banyuwangi) in the city of Banyuwangi is involved in the conservation of dragonflies.
My friends know I have a special interest in what I call 'cultural' dragonflies," Jill said.
They presented the dragonflies with moving lights that changed in intensity, as well as both light and dark targets.
He explored all other possibilities of red-bodied dragonflies known in the UAE, before checking with an expert at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a specialist of Arabian dragonflies.
Dragonflies were also used as shield heraldry by other tribes.
Along with its companion, Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West (Paulson 2009), this book is an invaluable resource for enthusiasts, amateurs, and specialists.
The two groups were separated so that while the dragonflies could see and smell their predators, the predators could not actually eat them.
The free Brilliant Butterflies & Daring Dragonflies session runs this Saturday, from 2pm.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the dragonflies and damselflies that frequent this part of the world has got to be between the covers of a new book, aptly titled "Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon," just released by the Oregon State University Press.