This Internet page is taken with permission from
Common Dragonflies of California
p.81 (1st edition, 2000 & 2001 printings) and p.122 (2nd edition - 2009)
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How long do they live?
As flying adults, dragonflies live only a few weeks, but if you include their underwater stage as nymph, their lives span from 1 summer up to 3 years.
What do they eat?
Adult flying dragonflies eat other smaller flying insects, esp. mosquitoes and gnats. Nymphs eat other underwater life forms such as mosquito larva. Larger nymphs can and will eat pollywogs and small fish.
Where do they go in the winter?
Adult dragonflies die of old age as winter approaches, but nymphs from spring, summer and fall laid eggs are still maturing underwater.
How many kinds are there?
On Earth there are over 5,400 species of dragonflies and damselflies. In the USA and Canada there are 435 species altogether. New species are still being discovered, even here in the USA
Do they bite or sting?
Dragonflies do not have stingers and cannot sting! Since they have a mouth, they can bite, but they bite prey, not humans, unless handled roughly. Their bite would be like a hard pinch.
Can they darn your lips closed?
Of course not! An old folk tale said that if you told lies a dragonfly would darn your lips closed. However, there are other bad consequences that befall those who tell lies!
Were they really here when dinosaurs were on Earth?
Yes! Dragonflies have existed for over 300 million years! In fact, they were here before the dinosaurs, and are among the most ancient creatures still populating our planet Earth.