The Giant Darner Dragonfly

Adapation and Natural Selection - by Tyler Hentz

Section 1: Original Species Name and Habitat:

The Giant Darner Dragonfly is one of the most recognizable and the largest dragonfly found in the United States. The Giant Darner Dragonfly’s most pronounced feature is its blue and black coloring along the segmented abdomen and along the top of the thorax. Giant Darner Dragonflies can be found as far south of Mexico and cover portions of southern United States in places such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The habitat for the Giant Darner Dragonfly primarily consists of small flowing streams to mossy marshy areas. This habitat for the Giant Darner Dragonfly is beneficial because it allows female Giant Darner Dragonflies to lay their eggs and be able to raise their young by being protected from predators. The climate of the Giant Darner Dragonfly is very arid and humidity and is an important factor that plays into the habitat as well. Species that share the same habitat as the Giant Darner Dragonfly are as follows: mosquitoes, minnows, and algae. The main food sources of the Giant Darner Dragonfly are little pest like mosquitoes, ants, and flies that skim the surface of ponds. Adult Giant Darner Dragonflies are fearful of their main predator - the hummingbird - while young larvae are heavily preyed upon by fish and other aquatic insects.

Section 2: Environmental Change:

Unfortunately, there has been a change to the Giant Darner Dragonfly. There has been an overproduction of the main predator, the hummingbird. Not only has overproduction increased, but also random mating of the hummingbird species has made the chance of survival even more difficult for the Giant Darner Dragonfly. It is true that all species, over time, overproduce creating a population with many variations or alleles. In this case the total number of alleles of the hummingbird has increased because of overproduction. The hummingbird species was not a concern as it is now due to the fact that random mating has increased. Random mating was simply caused by changing the hummingbird’s gene pool. Random mating and overproduction in the hummingbird population has increased the survival chances of the Giant Darner Dragonfly.

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Section 3: New Habitat:

Due to the environmental change, the Giant Darner Dragonfly has now changed habitat locations. Before the environmental change the Giant Darner Dragonfly was living in areas where their main predator, the hummingbird, was not common. Now, because the hummingbird population increased, the Giant Darner Dragonfly has now migrated to a more safe and remote area. They, the Giant Darner Dragonfly, have migrated down the North Shore of Lake Superior where hummingbirds are less common. In this area the Giant Darner Dragonfly have made alternative solutions of adapting to their new habitat and by protecting themselves from their predator the hummingbird.

Section 4: New Species Adaptions:

In the new habitat that the Giant Darner Dragonfly is struggling to survive; however, the Giant Darner Dragonfly has developed unique and special adaptations to help it not get eaten and be able to reproduce. The first adaptation that the Giant Darner Dragonfly has developed is keen and huge eyesight to spot its predator, the hummingbird.


The eyesight of the Giant Darner Dragonfly is much more advanced than humans and hummingbirds. This is because of the Giant Darner Dragonfly’s compound eye. The extraordinary adaptation is composed of several thousand elements known as facets or ommatidia; therefore, it is able to see in every direction as apposed to humans and hummingbirds that can only see in one perspective straight.


The second amazing adaption of the Giant Darner Dragonfly is that possesses long legs and a jaw. The long legs and jaw of the Giant Darner Dragonfly are two perfect examples that are crucial for survival. The legs of a Giant Darner Dragonfly are not stable enough to support its whole body; therefore, the long legs allow the Giant Darner Dragonfly to catch its pry with ease. Their front legs curve up to trap its pray, cutting off all escape. Second their hinged jaw clamps down immobilizing the pray and makes it able to chow down on a tasty snack!


Last and most unique adaptation of the Giant Darner Dragonfly is the lightweight, long, and fast wings. The wings on the Giant Darner Dragonfly are unique in many ways. First, the wings are like solar panels. This allows the Giant Darner Dragonfly to catch more sunlight for heating or cooling purposes. Second, all four of their wings work independently. This allows the Giant Darner Dragonfly to fly like a mid-air helicopter, maneuvering itself in all direction (including upside down!). Third, it is said that the Giant Darner Dragonfly’s wings can be measured to about five inches in length and can propel itself through the air at a top speed of 29km/h! This is a major adaptation because this allows the Giant Darner Dragonfly to escape predators with ease and be able to have quick and abrupt movements. As you can see, the adaptations of the Giant Darner Dragonfly help it survive from its main predator, the hummingbird, and adapt to the environment around it.

Section 5: FIVE steps of Natural Selection:

The five steps of natural selection are as follows: overproduction, inherited variations, struggle to survive, successful reproduction and adaptation of the species. In this scenario the Giant Darner Dragonfly adapted to the environmental change by migrating down the North Shore of Lake Superior where hummingbirds were less common; however, the Giant Darner Dragonfly still needed to adapt to the new environment and protect itself from any future encounters with the hummingbird. We saw the Giant Darner Dragonfly adapt to its new environment and now potentially has the opportunity to produce offspring with the same adaptations.

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