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Dragonflies are totally awesome! Join Jessi and Squeaks as they learn about these really large and really cool insects!

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iIf you’ve ever been around water in the summer, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve seen a dragonfly.

These bugs can be big or small, and almost any color you can think of, like red, pink, and even purple! But all dragonflies have lots of things in common, even if they look very different from one another.

For example ... [Squeaks squeaks] O … Right, Squeaks! Dragonflies aren’t really dragons at all! They are super strong and super fast, but they won’t hurt you.

Even though their long bodies look kind of like a stinger, dragonflies don’t sting. Dragonflies are insects, just like bees, ants, and ladybugs. Like all insects, dragonflies have six legs… … and three main parts of their body.

A dragonfly’s life starts in an egg. Some dragonflies lay their eggs in plants that grow in or near the water, and others lay their eggs right /in/ the water! About a week later baby dragonflies are born.

Young dragonflies are called nymphs, and they live in the water. Like fish and other kinds of animals that live in the water, nymphs use body parts called gills to breathe. But these gills aren’t anywhere near their /mouths/.

Can you guess where they are on the nymph’s body? [Squeaks squeaks] You’re Right! Their butt ! Can you imagine if we humans breathed from our rear ends?

I’m glad we can use our noses and mouths instead. Nymphs can also squirt water out of their backsides to move around quickly, like when they’re trying to escape something that wants to eat them! Dragonflies stay as nymphs for about a year, although some kinds of dragonflies stay as nymphs for five years.

That whole time, the nymphs get bigger and bigger, until one day they climb out of the water. The outside of the nymph’s shell splits open, and an adult dragonfly comes out! Now, take a look at the dragonfly nymph compared to the adult.

The shapes of their bodies look kind of alike, but there’s one thing the adult dragonfly has that the nymph doesn’t. Can you guess what it is? [Squeaks squeaks] Exactly! Wings!

The middle part of the dragonfly’s body has four wings, and they’re some of the strongest wings out of all the insects in the world. They’re strong enough to carry some dragonflies the whole way across the ocean. If you’ve ever seen a dragonfly, you know that they can also fly very fast.

They can fly at speeds of about 50 kilometers, or 30 miles an hour — as fast as a car driving down the street! They can also hover, which is when they stay in one place while they’re in the air, and they can even fly backwards! Dragonflies aren’t only awesome fliers, though.

They’re also excellent hunters. They use their flying skills and great eyesight to catch and eat smaller insects, tadpoles, and even small fish! And since they need a lot of energy to fly, they need to eat a lot!

If you ate as much as a dragonfly did, you’d have to eat somewhere around eight boxes of pasta every single day! Some dragonflies are pretty big, and they make a kind of buzzing sound as they fly by, which might make them seem a little scary. But there’s really no reason to be afraid of these awesome insects.

They won’t hurt you! Unlike some other kinds of insects, dragonflies do not sting people. And that buzzing sound you might hear as a dragonfly whizzes by?

That’s just the sound of their wings moving as they dart through the air. Dragonflies have a very important job to do: a lot of the insects they eat are ones that people think are pests, like gnats and mosquitoes. By eating lots of these pesky insects, dragonflies help to make sure that there aren’t too many of them around.

And that’s a good thing. So, the next time you see a dragonfly, don’t forget to say thanks! And thank you for joining us!

If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!