Winged & Tooth-jawed
Dragonflies and their cousins, the Damselflies, have mythological roots that lead back to dragons.
According to some sources, Odonata, the family name of this winged species, originates from the Greek word for tooth. It was believed that these flying creatures had teeth with which they could easily crush their prey. Turns out they don’t really have teeth but do have strong muscles that allow them to complete the task.
Most of us find them near water. They glide atop the surface of water in pursuit of what they seek. And for this reason, they appear to be magical. In a sense, they appear to be able to ‘walk on water’.
They appear the world over and for that reason have been mentioned in a variety of cultures. Dragonfly images have been found on pottery, rock paintings and contemporary jewelry. In Japan, they are a source of traditional medicine as they represent courage, strength, and happiness.
Did you know that they can move in six different directions and can do so at a speed of approximately 45 miles per hour? They hover, fly backwards and go straight up or down on both the left and the right sides at a wing flapping pace of about 30 times a minute. Compare that to the 600 times a minute a mosquito must flap its wings.
Facts and Myths
Here are a few facts and myths about these multi-dimensional flying insects:
- Dragonflies have two sets of wings so they don’t have to beat them as much to fly.
- Huge dinosaur dragonflies lived 300 million years ago. The largest found fossil had a wingspan of 2.5 feet.
- Dragonflies are known as snake doctors because they can bring dead snakes back to life.
- They would seek out bad children and sew their mouths together while they slept.