Front Porch Blog

Dragonfly Nymph: Nature’s Jet Ski

As human beings, we dream of getting on a Kawasaki Jet Ski and flying through the water at breakneck speeds. But for Dragonflies, of the order Odonata, every newborn gets this ability built-in, with a natural water propulsion system that helps it shoot across the water without even moving its arms or legs.

What most people don’t know about the Dragonfly, of whom we usually think as a large and colorful insect that flies quickly around the skies, is that it spends the majority of its life in the immature nymph phase, swimming around in the water rather than the air.

Dragonfly nymphs are hatched from eggs in water, and spend up to five years developing and feeding off mosquito larva in streams and rivers before taking off into the air. They have an extremely unique system of respiration, breathing through a set of posterior gills. To create the Jet Ski propulsion system, Dragonfly nymphs rapidly expel water through their anuses; no wonder scientists dubbed this the “immature” phase!

As if that isn’t fun enough, the nymphs also wear a beautiful set of armor that, depending on the species, can be a variety of vivid colors.

Whether it’s shooting through water with a built-in Jet Ski, wearing a full suit of armor, or flying around the air eating anything that gets in your way, being a Dragonfly sounds like every kid’s dream!




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