- insects with wings, or insects whose ancestors had wings
Odonates are among our largest insects with body lengths up to 75 mm. They have chewing mouth parts and are intensely predaceous on mosquitoes, blackflies and other insects. The immatures, naiads, live in ponds, lakes and streams. Dragonflies are the robust, faster flying, highly active insects in this order. Damselflies are more slender, less active and weaker fliers. Odonata have short, setaceous (hair-like) antennae, and large compound eyes, which consist of many facets (repeated eye units on the surface) and occupy much of their head region. Odonata wings are a lacework of many veins and cross veins. The second pair of wings are larger than the first. There is a notch, nodus, about midway along the front margin of both wings. This nodus is peculiar to only this order of insects. Their wings also normally have a stigma, a small darkened band, near the front tip. Odonata are unable to fold their wings, which are held out from the body when at rest and impose an aerial existence (niche) on these insects. Among the larger Odonates in northern Ontario are species of the family Aeshnidae (the Darners) that have adults displaying a greenish thorax, and bluish abdomen. Adults of most species are coloured iridescent blues, greens, and reds.
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