Here be dragons
This stunning picture of a blue, brown and black dragonfly was sent into the Kentish Express by regular contributor Ted Prangnell.
Mr Prangnell spotted the insect hovering around the runner beans he is growing in his Kennington garden last week.
After seeing the very impressive shot, we thought we would share with you some interesting facts about dragonflies, which are a popular sight at this time of year.
About 5,900 different species of dragonflies are known in the world today. They belong to the order of Odonata, which means ‘toothed one’ in Greek and refers to the dragonfly’s serrated teeth.
They eat mosquitoes – a single dragonfly can eat hundreds each day – and other small insects, such as flies, bees, ants, wasps and, very rarely, butterflies.
They are usually found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as ‘nymphs’, are aquatic.
At the end of the larval stage, the dragonfly crawls out of the water, then its exoskeleton cracks open and releases the insect’s abdomen, which had been packed in like a telescope. Its four wings come out, and they dry and harden over the next several hours or days.
Some adult dragonflies live for only a few weeks, while others live for up to a year.
Modern dragonflies have wingspans of two to five inches, but prehistoric ones had wingspans of up to two feet.
Dragonflies can fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter and even mate midair.
Ted Prangnell spotted this dragonfly on his runner beans