In Flight

An adult dragonfly looks different from a nymph. First, its body has bright colors. The colors help it to attract a mate.

This male southern hawker dragonfly is in flight.

Adult dragonflies' eyes have thousands of lenses.

Second, it has two large compound eyes. Each eye has thousands of lenses. It also has three simple eyes. Together, these eyes help the dragonfly hunt.

Third, the adult dragonfly has two sets of wings. It can fly forward, backward, or sideways. It can beat its wings together or each can move alone.

Dragonflies have six legs, but most cannot walk.

This southern hawker is on the hunt for flying insects.

Focused Hunter

This dragonfly is a deadly hunter. It catches prey while it flies. The dragonfly must know three things about its prey. Its distance. Its direction. Its speed. Then the dragonfly follows.

The dragonfly holds its legs forward. It grabs the prey from the air. Then it bites off the prey’s wings before eating the body.


Eating and mating are an adult dragonfly's only two jobs. Within two months, the adults die. Then their eggs wait for the life cycle to begin again.

Some females lay their eggs in the water.