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Dragonfly Fossil Plaque measures 7.5 inches. The Dragonfly Fossil Plaque is museum quality fossil replica polyurethane cast. Made in USA. Pennsylvanian. 300 million years ago. A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera the hind wing is broader than the fore wing. Adult dragonflies are characterized by large, multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong, transparent wings, sometimes with colored patches, and an elongated body.
Dragonflies or Anisoptera can be mistaken for the related group, damselflies (Zygoptera), which are similar in structure, though usually lighter in build; however, the wings of most dragonflies are held flat and away from the body, while damselflies hold the wings folded at rest, along or above the abdomen.
Dragonflies or Anisoptera are agile fliers, while damselflies have a weaker, fluttery flight. Many dragonflies have brilliant iridescent or metallic colors produced by structural coloration, making them conspicuous in flight. An adult dragonfly’s compound eyes have nearly 24,000 ommatidia each.
Fossils of very large dragonfly ancestors in the Protodonata are found from 325 million years ago in Upper Carboniferous rocks; these had wingspans up to about 30 inches. There are about 3,000 extant species. Most are tropical, with fewer species in temperate regions. Loss of wetland habitat threatens dragonfly populations around the world.
Dragonflies or Anisoptera and their relatives are an ancient group. The oldest fossils are of the Protodonata from the 325 Million years ago Upper Carboniferous of Europe, a group that included the largest insect that ever lived, Meganeuropsis permiana from the Early Permian, with a wingspan around 30 inches; their fossil record ends with the Permian–Triassic extinction event.
The Protanisoptera, another ancestral group lived from the Early to Late Permian age until the end Permian event, and are known from fossil wings from current day United States, Russia, and Australia, suggesting they might have been cosmopolitan in distribution.
The forerunners of modern Odonata are included in a clade called the Panodonata, which include the basal Zygoptera (damselflies) and the Anisoptera (true dragonflies).
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