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


The bad seed

If Dragonfly Sr. is a classy assassin, Junior is a tiny thug, with a very different MO from its mature self. The terrifying larva lurks underwater its entire life—from one to five years, far longer than the fleeting weeks an adult gets to fly—and has a face and personality only a mother dragonfly could love. Half its head is masked by a huge, hinged lower lip that, shades of Alien (aquatic version), unfolds and flings out with lightning speed to snatch and dispatch its victims. Relentlessly voracious, laying waste to lake insects, minnows, and tadpoles, the juvenile delinquent eventually morphs into a grown-up and begins a whole new reign of terror as a dragon in the sky.


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