Question Sheet: To Catch a Dragonfly


Before reading:

  1. What does a dragonfly look like? How does it differ from other insects?
  2. Why do you think dragonflies might be worth studying?

During reading:

  1. Why does Wikelski say that dragonflies are like little helicopters?
  2. How many different varieties of dragonflies exist? How many migrate?
  3. How are scientists tracking dragonfly migration? What have they found?
  4. What’s the “unexpected quirk” in the behavior of the Hine’s emerald


  5. Why does Soluk say that saving an endangered species can get complicated?
  6. What’s an important way to help protect dragonflies?

After reading:

  1. Look at one of the Science News for Kids articles on bird

    migration. Based on the challenges and problems that birds face when they

    migrate, what issues might dragonflies face when they migrate? See


    , or


  2. Why is it surprising or even amazing that some dragonflies migrate? See

    (Journey North), (Rutgers

    University), and (Oregon State


  3. What might be the advantages for dragonflies of hiding in crayfish burrows?


    (Science News).

  4. Why might no one have ever observed dragonflies migrating northward? How

    would you test your hypothesis? See (Ducks

    Unlimited Canada).

  5. How do dragonflies differ from damselflies? See (British Dragonfly Society).


What varieties of dragonflies live in your neighborhood or state? Are any of them endangered? See


(IUPUI), (U.S.

Fish & Wildlife Service), and


(Cornell University).


  1. The word “dragon” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “to see clearly.”

    When was the word “dragonfly” first used? Why might this be an appropriate

    popular name for this insect? What other names do dragonflies go by in different

    parts of the country? See (Douglas Harper), (, and (Nature


  2. Design a picture book for young readers about finding, saving, or observing

    a dragonfly. Indicate what sorts of illustrations the book would have. Write

    captions for the illustrations. The book should be scientifically accurate.


In prehistoric times, dragonflies had wingspans of 80 centimeters and were the largest insects known. Today, dragonflies are smaller, with wingspans up to 14 centimeters. Expressed in inches, what were the wingspans of prehistoric dragonflies. How many times

larger were the wingspans of prehistoric dragonflies than the wingspans of

today’s dragonflies?