Distinguished from Neuroptera family by having thin, short antennae; their wings are held in a roof like manner whereas dragonflies hold their wings horizontally, much like an aeroplane, and damselflies hold their wings vertically above their body. Odonata use their legs like a basket to capture prey and capture prey in flight and hunt over water.
The Mating method is diagnostic of Odonata, and is not found in any other insect.
The male transfers sperm from his primary sexual organs to a set of “holding” organs which act as his secondary sexual organs situated underneath the second abdominal segment.
He then clasps the female with his claspers on his back-most abdominal segment behind her head and flies with her;
She bends her abdomen around to bring her sexual organs (on her hind segment) into contact with the male’s secondary organs.
After mating the female touches her abdomen on the surface of the water and lays her eggs.
The eggs sink to the bottom and hatch.
The nymph explores around the bottom and can move very quickly to hunt prey. It swims around by pumping water in and out of its rectum like a jet and obtains oxygen via a continual supply of fresh water which it passes through folds in the rectum. They cast their skin 11 – 15 times; some reach maturity in a few weeks while others take about a year. They are all predatory with an elongated lower lip that works on a hinge to lunge out and capture prey.