They’re not dragons, and they’re not flies.
But they boast a swelling fan base.
You might call dragonflies the stunt pilots of the insect world. They wear flashy colors, dart at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, boast ancestors that predate dinosaurs ... and they even mate in mid-air.
Green darner dragonflies at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: J.N. Stuart/Creative Commons)
These are just some of the reasons that the insects are gaining attention, both on and off national wildlife refuges. Dragonfly festivals are popping up across the country and a crop of new field guides are making the rounds around American towns and cities.