There is something about these insects that attracts a wide range of interesting names and stories. The Latin name for dragonfly is â€œOdonataâ€ from the Greek word for teeth which these insect do not have, but they are fierce hunters with strong mandibles that they use to crush their prey.
The first known use of the common name â€œDragonflyâ€ is in Francis Bacon’s “Sylva Sylvarum” (1667). The Welsh chose to call them â€œSnakeâ€™s servantsâ€, the Australians â€œHorse Stingersâ€ and the Dutch name for the Odonata is â€œjufferâ€ which translates as “little miss.” The Victorians invented a host of interesting names for individual species, there are; Norfolk Hawkers, Scarlet Darters, Darners, Emperors, Chasers and Skimmers. Then there are the lovely names for the dragonflies delicate cousins: The “Azure Damselfly” and “Beautiful Demoiselle”
Some cultures were kinder, in Northern Europe they symbolised the love goddess Freya. The Zuni in New Mexico, and the Japanese too, thought they were harbingers of good health, spring and summer