The damming of rivers for hydroelectric schemes and the drainage of low-lying land has reduced suitable habitat, as has pollution and the introduction of alien species. In , the International Union for Conservation of Nature set up a status survey and conservation action plan for dragonflies. This proposes the establishment of protected areas around the world and the management of these areas to provide suitable habitat for dragonflies.
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Outside these areas, encouragement should be given to modify forestry, agricultural, and industrial practices to enhance conservation. At the same time, more research into dragonflies needs to be done, consideration should be given to pollution control and the public should be educated about the importance of biodiversity. Habitat degradation has reduced dragonfly populations across the world, for example in Japan. Dragonflies feed on pest insects in rice, acting as a natural pest control.
The dragonfly's long lifespan and low population density makes it vulnerable to disturbance, such as from collisions with vehicles on roads built near wetlands. Species that fly low and slow may be most at risk. Dragonflies are attracted to shiny surfaces that produce polarization which they can mistake for water, and they have been known to aggregate close to polished gravestones, solar panels, automobiles, and other such structures on which they attempt to lay eggs. These can have a local impact on dragonfly populations; methods of reducing the attractiveness of structures such as solar panels are under experimentation.
For some Native American tribes , dragonflies represent swiftness and activity; for the Navajo , they symbolize pure water. They are a common motif in Zuni pottery; stylized as a double-barred cross, they appear in Hopi rock art and on Pueblo necklaces. In Indonesia , adults are caught on poles made sticky with birdlime , then fried in oil as a delicacy.
Images of dragonflies are common in Art Nouveau , especially in jewellery designs. Akitu is an old word for dragonfly, so one interpretation of Akitsushima is "Dragonfly Island". As a seasonal symbol in Japan, the dragonfly is associated with autumn. Japanese children catch large dragonflies as a game, using a hair with a small pebble tied to each end, which they throw into the air. The dragonfly mistakes the pebbles for prey, gets tangled in the hair, and is dragged to the ground by the weight.
In Europe, dragonflies have often been seen as sinister. Some English vernacular names, such as "horse-stinger",  " devil 's darning needle", and "ear cutter", link them with evil or injury. They are often associated with snakes , as in the Welsh name gwas-y-neidr , " adder 's servant".
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The watercolourist Moses Harris — , known for his The Aurelian or natural history of English insects , published in , the first scientific descriptions of several Odonata including the banded demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens. He was the first English artist to make illustrations of dragonflies accurate enough to be identified to species Aeshna grandis at top left of plate illustrated , though his rough drawing of a larva at lower left with the mask extended appears to be plagiarised. More recently, dragonfly watching has become popular in America as some birdwatchers seek new groups to observe.
In heraldry , like other winged insects, the dragonfly is typically depicted tergiant with its back facing the viewer , with its head to chief.
Woodcut on paper, after Kitagawa Utamaro , Japonism vase with dragonfly handles, circa , Walters Art Museum. Accurately drawn dragonflies by Moses Harris , At top left, the brown hawker, Aeshna grandis described by Linnaeus , ; the nymph at lower left is shown with the "mask" extended.
Japanese tsuba with a dragonfly, Shibuichi with gold and silver, Walters Art Museum. Lafcadio Hearn wrote in his book A Japanese Miscellany that Japanese poets had created dragonfly haiku "almost as numerous as are the dragonflies themselves in the early autumn. The novelist H. Bates described the rapid, agile flight of dragonflies in his nonfiction book  Down the River : . I saw, once, an endless procession, just over an area of water-lilies, of small sapphire dragonflies, a continuous play of blue gauze over the snowy flowers above the sun-glassy water.
It was all confined, in true dragonfly fashion, to one small space. It was a continuous turning and returning, an endless darting, poising, striking and hovering, so swift that it was often lost in sunlight. A dragonfly has been genetically modified with light-sensitive "steering neurons" in its nerve cord to create a cyborg -like "DragonflEye". The neurons contain genes like those in the eye to make them sensitive to light. Miniature sensors, a computer chip and a solar panel were fitted in a "backpack" over the insect's thorax in front of its wings. Light is sent down flexible light-pipes named optrodes [c] from the backpack into the nerve cord to give steering commands to the insect.
The result is a "micro-aerial vehicle that's smaller, lighter and stealthier than anything else that's manmade". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Anisoptera disambiguation. This article is about the insect.
For other uses, see Dragonfly disambiguation. Infraorder of insects with long strong bodies and two pairs of wings. Further information: motion camouflage. Brussels and Leipzig: C.
CUP Archive. No Dragonfly at present existing can compare with the immense Meganeura monyi of the Upper Carboniferous, whose expanse of wing was somewhere about twenty-seven inches. Encyclopedia of Insects. Academic Press. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press. Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness" PDF. Dragonflies Through Binoculars: a field guide to the dragonflies of North America. Oxford University Press. Systematic Entomology. In Thorp, James; Rogers, D. Christopher eds. Ecology and general biology.
Thorp and Covich's Freshwater Invertebrates 4 ed. University of Florida. Retrieved 26 February JHU Press. Archived from the original on August Functional Ecology. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Ecology and Biogeography of High Altitude Insects. Reykjavik Grapevine. Retrieved 15 March Entomological Review. Nature Alaska Images. Invertebrate Zoology, 7th edition. Cengage Learning.
Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London. UCMP Berkeley. Retrieved 24 February A Manual of the Dragonflies of North America.
University of California Press. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East.
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Princeton University Press. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Retrieved 21 November Italian Journal of Zoology. In Resh, Vincent H. Encyclopedia of Insects 2 ed. Stackpole Books.