These prehistoric creatures still roam the earth today, only a bit smaller. They used to be about 2 feet wingtip to wingtip. These insects start as aquatic nymphs, living off smaller larva and insects. It has an amazing lower jaw that shoots out, captures prey with great accuracy then retracts back so it can devour its meal.
It spends most of its life as a nymph but after 2-5 years it will emerge as an adult. This is the next awesome change it goes through. It will crawl up some vegetation and begin to emerge as a terrestrial insect. The exoskeleton can be found on cypress knees, cattails and other aquatic vegetation. They can range from 1-3 inches in length. It takes a couple hours for their body to harden up to be able to fly, this is a very vulnerable stage in their life. After their wings dry out, they take flight in search for a meal.
They have 4 wings that are independent from each other. This allows some species to fly close to 60 mph! That makes them one of the fastest, if not THE fastest flying insect. They will eat many types of insects and are known to take down butterflies from time to time. While in a canoe or kayak, they will often sit high on vegetation facing into the wind. They do this to cool off. So, the next time you see a Dragonfly, think about how cool these creatures are.