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Dragonfly Facts, Symbolism, Meanings and Photos

Updated on September 4, 2016
cclitgirl profile image

Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts and culture and sharing that knowledge.

This is an art drawing I completed of a dragonfly. It's Sharpie marker on paper, 18"x24," and completed 6/2013.
This is an art drawing I completed of a dragonfly. It's Sharpie marker on paper, 18"x24," and completed 6/2013. | Source

The Dragonfly Insect Facts

The dragonfly is a seemingly magical insect.

  • They have been around on the earth for a long, long time - anywhere between 180 and 300 million years.
  • They have broad bodies and large eyes, with sharp vision, and the ability to track movement up to forty feet away.
  • Their feats of flight are remarkable. They can fly forwards, backwards, and can travel as fast as 30 miles per hour.
  • They have two phases in their lives: they start out in the water as wingless insects for well over a year and move into the air after growing their beautiful wings.

When they're young, their colors aren't as developed as when they become adults. However, when fully grown, their colors are iridescent and seem to glimmer like jewels, especially on their wings.

Though they might be curious to fly around humans or other animals, they do not sting or bite. That's great considering these creatures are at once very large and incredibly beautiful.

Dragonfly Meaning at a Glance

  • change
  • deep thoughts are surfacing; listen to them
  • moving toward light
  • metamorphosis and transformation
  • strength
  • adaptability
  • magic

Dragonfly Meaning

Dragonflies carry a lot of meaning. If one comes into your life and gets your attention, the primary symbol of the dragonfly is change.

I had a personal experience with this: one landed in my car and came in through the window when I was travelling at 40 mph! I thought it had died, as it fluttered for a moment and then stopped.

I pulled over to let it out, and it suddenly took flight and flew away.

The chances of this insect flying in though my car window and living through the experience was, for me, a powerful sign that change was going to happen. And it did: I changed the path of my career by enrolling in university a few weeks later!

Other powerful meanings of the dragonfly are strength and adaptibility. These traits have helped the dragonfly survive the test of time as a species on the planet. If they lose one set of wings, they can still fly.

In addition, their eyes have compound lenses allowing them to see 360º - in all directions. They can clean them with the comb-like hairs on their legs.

The dragonfly is also a creature of light. If you find one in your travels, it might be telling you that you need to get out and enjoy the sunshine more, or that you should get yourself near fresh water. These actions can then boost your mental and physical health.

The sunlight reflects their beautiful colors. Many people throughout history attributed this to magic or something mystical. You might want people to only see the impressive, successful part of yourself when they need to see you as a whole person - the good and the not so good.

In that case, you don't want to be "mysterious" - dragonfly symbolism urges you to be yourself and not use tricks or magic to fool people.

This dragonfly was sitting on a stem by a pond where I was camping in the Outer Banks, NC.
This dragonfly was sitting on a stem by a pond where I was camping in the Outer Banks, NC. | Source

More Teachings

The dragonfly is a creature full of wisdom. She teaches that life is about change, that everyone needs to be careful to live their life with clarity and not as an illusion.

Because they are creatures of light, they can help you to use creativity, color, and imagination in your life on a greater level.

You can also look to the dragonfly to help shed light into your own life.

Because dragonflies start out living in the water and eventually come to the surface, this process can be a mirror for what's going on in your life: you might have thoughts coming up that need your attention or that you might need to change your perspective.

Do you see dragonflies where you live?

See results

An Interesting Creature

They dragonfly is such a fascinating creature that different cultures have attributed different characteristics to it.

In some Native American cultures, it can represent the souls of the deceased. In other cultures, stories include how the dragonfly morphed from real dragons - though today, they have nothing to do with dragons; they only share part of their name.

They are such wonderful and peaceful creatures to watch and their curiosity toward humans makes them all the more intriguing.

© 2013 Cynthia Calhoun

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bev is writing a children's book about a golden dragonfly....and it is actually quite good. I love dragonflies....and I love your artwork. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Bill - I don't know how you're so danged quick, LOL. I imagine Bev's book is going to be AMAZING. Thank you for your kindness - always. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Cyndi, your hubs are always so very interesting to say the least. Thanks for all of the wonderful information on the dragonfly, which I did not know!

      Your Sharpie art is always stunning. You are truly gifted in many areas.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Faith Reaper - ha! Thank you. :) I definitely enjoy way too many things - it's hard to know what to focus on. :) Oh well...I just do my best, right?

      Thank you so much for the votes and shares! HUGS!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi, I love dragonflys, I think they are such lovely creatures, saying that my experience with a dragonfly was somewhat more startling! lol! I was riding along on my motorbike, got to work and just as I turned into the carpark I saw something hit my visor! when I got out my friend was laughing so hard she was in hysterics! when I asked her what was wrong she said, why have you got a dragonfly splattered all over your helmet? wonder what that means....! lol! great hub and voted up!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      dragonflies are my favourite insect. I collect jewelry and any other decoration inspired by them. I really enjoyed your hub Cyndi, both the writing and the artwork.

      Teresa

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Nell - that's hilarious! Hahaha. I have no idea, other than I have to ask: did it live? Then maybe you needed a little "light" on the situation. HAHAHA.

      Teresa - great to see you! Thank you so much for your feedback. :) That's awesome that you have dragonfly jewelry. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Dragonflies are so cool! I see them in my yard all the time. However, we still have mosquitoes, so I guess the population is rather lopsided. I had no idea dragonflies start out living in the water. Fascinating!

      I'm glad they have downsized. I think seeing a dragonfly with a 2' wingspan would scare the daylights out of me!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Bravewarrior - ya know, I'm with you on that one. As benign as they are, I don't think I could happily take an insect flying at me with a 2' wingspan, haha.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Dragonflies are fascinating insects. Thanks for sharing this interesting hub!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great resource, Cyndi! You put so much thought and research into this article. Love the overview.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I don't see many dragonflies here in Southern California, so it's always a treat when I come across one. When I was a child in the Philippines, however, dragonflies were all over the place. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have a great deal of respect for dragonflies and damselflies. I spent a lot of time in Maine, and due to water being everywhere, they were very plentiful. It was enlightening to see them play together.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Elias - thank you for coming by. :) I appreciate your feedback.

      Randomcreative - thank you! I had a lot of fun with the artwork. :)

      Alocsin - oh, I bet the dragonflies are BEAUTIFUL in the Philippines! Thank you so much for coming by!

      Aviannovice - that's really neat! I can imagine you being around the water in Maine and developing your love not only for these creatures, but for our avian friends, too. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      You make me love the dragonfly!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 3 years ago from Thailand

      It was strange timing to see this at the top of my feed, as the last couple of days I have been surrounded by these creatures. It seemed like they had all swarmed out from the lake I live near. Kinda beautiful and interesting to watch them ... the birds also enjoyed the event!

      Interesting, up, and shared.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Amazing artwork. Thanks for sharing interesting information about dragonflies. I never see them in real life, so definitely a mysterious creature to me.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Beautiful and extremely informative. Nice. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Audrey - thank you! And you make me love poetry. ;)

      Brett - great to see you! Yeah, they're interesting little things, aren't they? They are really interesting to watch for sure. Thank you for the shares, too!

      Truthfornow - thank you. :) I had fun learning about these guys - they're so much fun to study.

      Phdast7 - thank you! I hope you have a great day - thank you for your feedback. :)

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg 3 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Cyndi, I just wanted to let you know I added a link to this awesome hub in my dragonfly hub. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your encounter with the dragonfly again, and of course I LOVE your drawing!! :D

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      DOM - sorry it took so long to reply - thank you, thank you. :) I have been out of town taking graduate courses and only now am I getting a chance to come by HP, lol. I hope you are well, thank you for the warm comments and thoughts. xo

    • profile image

      Bebe 3 years ago

      My son was murdered 17 years ago,I greive so, his case is still unsolved..I am very depressed, as I live in New York city, everything is concret, feeling so heartbroken, getting so old 75, my health deteriating, I was sitting pitying myself and thiking of the days gone by in the past,I sat by my window, A beautiful Drangonfly sat on my windowsill and was looking at me, It sat there for abot 5 minutes I talked to it, and told it, It can stay with me, I enjoy its beauty and company especially I live on the second floor of an apartment building in the city, there are no butterflies, or Drangonflies around Yet it came with its transparent wings and rested with me, I felt real good and happy inside, It bought a calmness to my soul, Maybe it ws trying to tell me something I felt it could understand me talking to it, it stayed with me till I stopped talking to it, and it glided off I think it is my son trying to tell me Mom don't give upm things will change, ..also the same window sill about 5 months ago A beautiful Multicolored one came to me and into my room, It let me pick it up and I took it outside the window to fly away..this is the second time I had visits from Dragonflies, do you think My son is trying to tell me something, I feel he is

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      CC, voted up, useful, interesting, and shared. Very useful resource with some very interesting facts about the dragonfly. I learned a lot about them when I researched them for a tattoo article a year or so ago, didn't know about the Native American association. Well done, hope all is well, and I'll see you around.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      LW - aww, thank you. Sorry for the delay in responding - been away from HP lately. Need to get back into it. :)

      Love the fact that you did an article on these guys, too. I'll definitely check it out. :)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      Probably the only insect I actually like. Dragonflys are truly beautiful. I love your artwork as well. Voting up and interesting.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Crystal - hehe, thank you! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! cheers

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      We dozens of dragonflies mating or doing something over the duck ponds in the fall.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Poetryman - that's great! And it sounds so beautiful!

    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Williams 3 years ago

      This is a very interesting article! I have always thought that dragonfly's were beautiful, but I never realized all the things that a dragonfly symbolized! Thanks for sharing, I voted up.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Lisa - thank you so much! They are so intriguing. :) It's fun to study about them.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Neat hub! I love the sharpie drawing!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, Vicki. I love some Sharpie drawings. ;)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Another superb article. I remember how much I used to like watching the dragonflies during breaks from working the hay meadows while under the shade tree. They are truly beautiful.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Larry - I appreciate all your comments - you've made my day. :) I love to watch dragonflies - they are so interesting to watch and truly remarkable. Thank you!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      A great hub, the sharpie images is amazing! Interesting and informative hub.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Vellur - thank you so much! I appreciate your feedback. Great to see you. :)

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 2 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      Great article about Dragonflies. I love them!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Jerzimom - thank you so much. Have a great day!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub Cindi about the facts on the dragonflies. Very useful and interesting, too.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Kristen - aw, thank you! I appreciate you stopping by. :)

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