Dragonfly Facts, Symbolism, Meanings, and Photos

Updated on June 21, 2018
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

Dragonfly Meaning at a Glance

Seeing a dragonfly in your daily life can signify a variety of things, including:

  • Change
  • Deep thoughts surfacing; listen to them
  • Moving toward light
  • Metamorphosis and transformation
  • Strength
  • Adaptability
  • Magic

Possible Symbolism of the Dragonfly

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 because 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 through 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.

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.

Facts About the Dragonfly

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.

Do you see dragonflies where you live?

See results

An Interesting Creature

The dragonfly is such a fascinating creature that multiple 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.

Dragonflies are such wonderful and peaceful creatures to watch, and their curiosity toward humans makes them all the more intriguing. May you notice when one appears in your life—perhaps there is change in the wind!

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

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Cynthia Calhoun

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      • profile image

        Zack Zielinski 

        5 weeks ago

        Excellent article, I have had dragonflys appear everywhere I look for the last two months which lead me to look them up. I actually had one fly into the warehouse i work at and hit me right in the face... no joke.. they constantly observe me by doing eye level circles around my head as to get my attention. I have been kinda freaking out as to why its been happening so this article puts me at ease. To top it of i took a hike today to clear my head and noticed a rock i liked only to pick it up and on the underside was a fossilized dragonfly. I have since cleaned the rock and placed it in my room:) This is a good thing i think but actually could ve telling ne to change my path?

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        3 years ago from Western NC

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

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

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

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        4 years ago from Western NC

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

      • Jerzimom profile image

        Cheryl Fay Mikesell 

        4 years ago from Mondovi, WI

        Great article about Dragonflies. I love them!

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        4 years ago from Western NC

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

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 

        4 years ago from Dubai

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

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        4 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!

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        4 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 imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        4 years ago from Western NC

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

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 

        4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        Neat hub! I love the sharpie drawing!

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        4 years ago from Western NC

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

      • Lisawilliamsj profile image

        Lisa Chronister 

        4 years ago from Florida

        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 imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        4 years ago from Western NC

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

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 

        4 years ago

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

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 years ago from Western NC

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

      • Crystal Tatum profile image

        Crystal Tatum 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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. :)

      • thelyricwriter profile image

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        5 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.

      • profile image

        Bebe 

        5 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

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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

      • Daughter Of Maat profile image

        Melissa Flagg COA OSC 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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. :)

      • phdast7 profile image

        Theresa Ast 

        5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        Beautiful and extremely informative. Nice. :)

      • truthfornow profile image

        truthfornow 

        5 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.

      • Brett.Tesol profile image

        Brett Caulton 

        5 years ago from Asia

        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.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        5 years ago from California

        You make me love the dragonfly!

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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. :)

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        5 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.

      • alocsin profile image

        alocsin 

        5 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.

      • randomcreative profile image

        Rose Clearfield 

        5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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

      • Elias Zanetti profile image

        Elias Zanetti 

        5 years ago from Athens, Greece

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

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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. :)

      • Teresa Coppens profile image

        Teresa Coppens 

        5 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

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        5 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!

      • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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!

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        5 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 imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 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. :)

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 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. :)

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