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Related to Odonata: order Odonata, Plecoptera


(invertebrate zoology)
The dragonflies, an order of the class Insecta, characterized by a head with large compound eyes, and wings with clear or transparent membranes traversed by networks of veins.



(dragonflies and damselflies), an order of predatory insects capable of rapid flight. The large insects have a mobile head, large eyes, short bristle-like antennae, four transparent wings richly netted with veins, and a long, slender abdomen.

There are three suborders: Zygoptera, Anisoptera, and Aniso-zygoptera. The last suborder is common in Japan and India and includes a single genus, whose forms combine the features of the first two suborders. The Zygoptera have narrow fore and hind wings of nearly the same shape, which are pressed together and raised upward when at rest. In the Anisoptera the wings differ in shape and lie horizontally when at rest; the base of the hind wings is wide. The wing and the abdomen measure 10–94 and 14–120 mm long, respectively.

Dragonflies and damselflies feed on other insects that they seize in flight. They are considered beneficial owing to their destruction of mosquitoes, black flies, and other injurious insects. The insects do, however, spread protogonimosis, a dangerous disease of poultry.

Dragonflies copulate while in flight. The secondary copulative apparatus of the males is highly specialized and has no analogues among other insects. The eggs are laid in water, in the tissues of aquatic plants, or, less commonly, in wet soil. The larvae develop in water and breathe by means of gills. Zygoptera larvae have the trachéal gills at the caudal end, and the Anisoptera larvae have the rectal tracheal gills on the walls of the rectum, which is periodically filled with water. Metamorphosis is incomplete. The larvae have a very long lower lip that forms a prehensile organ, the mask, which protrudes when seizing prey and conceals the jaws when at rest. The larvae are predators, feeding on aquatic insect larvae and, sometimes, attacking tadpoles and fry. They serve, in turn, as food for fish.

At the end of the developmental period, the larvae emerge from the water and attach themselves to plants or uneven places in soil. The last molting occurs on land near a body of water. Some species can fly great distances away from water. During mass flights Libellula quadrimaculata forms a dense swarm stretching dozens of kilometers.

There are about 4,500 species, most of which inhabit the tropics and humid subtropics. About 165 species are widely distributed throughout the USSR except in arid regions.


Zhizri zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969. Pages 254–59.


References in periodicals archive ?
Ecologia de las asociaciones de Odonata en el area de influencia de las microcuencas afectadas por la presa Zimapan, Queretaro e Hidalgo, Mexico (Tesis Doctoral).
Taxonomic studies of Odonata of Gilgit and Baltistan areas.
wandae, exhiben habitos alimenticios notablemente similares con inclinacion hacia los ordenes Coleoptera, Himenoptera (Formicidae) y Odonata, sin embargo consumen tambien, aunque en menor proporcion, presas de la Clase Arachnida y del Orden Mantodea.
Samplings of Odonata larvae were conducted every two months, from July 2007 to June 2008 in ten streams of the Pirapo River basin in three sampling sites (headwaters, middle and mouth) (Figure 1).
2013b Previously unpublished Odonata records from Sarawak, Borneo, Part II.
Odonata Central: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata.
Thirty-two species of Odonata have been recorded in the Bend of Islands by the author since January 2012.
Para adultos de Odonata se utilizo una red aerea de malla fina, se fijaron con acetona y se conservaron en seco.
En el area de AO se registraron cinco "singletons", dos en el orden Coleoptera, dos en Hymenoptera y uno en Odonata.