This stunning dragonfly is a male crimson marsh glider (Trithemis aurora) from Thailand. How do I know it's a male? Because females are yellow :). They’re found near a variety of freshwater habitats & are fairly common.
🍃 There are more than 3,000 described species of dragonflies.
🍃 They intercept, rather than chase, flying prey (insects including mozzies), which requires complex calculations. And they're incredibly good at it, catching ~95% of the prey they target. 🍃 They have excellent vision courtesy of large compound eyes. They can see 360° (although their vision backwards isn't high res), & are very sensitive to movement. Diurnal (day active) species see more colours than we do, while dusk active species see better in lower light.
🍃 They also have incredible flight capabilities – not just forward, but also up, down, left, right & even backwards, + they can hover.
🍃 Some species are migratory, & one has the longest migration of any insect (up to 18,000km round trip, more than twice as long as Monarch butterflies in the Americas!).
🍃 They have complex life cycles, with aquatic larvae that live in freshwater habitats for up to 5 yrs (depending on species). The larvae are voracious predators that eat almost anything, including tadpoles, fish & each other! Fish get their own back though, as dragonfly larvae are an important food source for some species.
🍃 Larvae breathe through gills in their rectum (!).
🍃 They have short adult lives - usually only a few weeks or months, but some live up to a year.
🍃 Modern dragonflies have wingspans up to ~12.5cm, but fossil dragonflies have been discovered with wingspans > 70cm!
🍃 They're grouped together with damselflies in the Class Odonata. Of the 6,000+ described species, only ~1/2 have had their conservation status assessed. Of those, ~15% are threatened or near threatened, & there's too little data for ~1/3 of them to determine whether they're threatened or not.
🍃 Their main threats are habitat destruction & the pollution, drying up & degradation of water bodies.
🍃 To help them, avoid using nasty chemicals in your home & garden that could end up finding their way into local water bodies.