16 reasons why dragonflies are nature’s most incredible killing machines

dragon fly close up
Photo by Maciej Olszewski / Shutterstock

Issuing an all-points bulletin: aerial assassin on the fly. Considered four-winged and dangerous. Under investigation by the U.S. Air Force. Notable features: stick-like physique, bulbous eyes. Frequents docks. Goes by the alias “Great White Shark of the Sky.” A.k.a. Dragonfly.

Yes, folks, the ethereal little insect we love to laud, entrancer and romancer that darts across our consciousness onto countless tea towels and coffee mugs, is a cold-blooded flying and killing machine. Superbly engineered for this singular agenda, it is ancient, ruthless, rapacious, and awesome. Enter the dragon’s den and see for yourself.

(Adapted from an article published in the May 2015 issue of Cottage Life magazine)


These legs aren’t meant for walking

Six spiny limbs cup to form a little basket under the head, grabbing and trapping prey, and then relaying the prisoner into the fearsome mandibles. Essentially a feeding structure, the legs are so far forward on the dragonfly’s body, they are good only for clinging to surfaces.

Photo by Chad Ked / Shutterstock