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Nice work, Dragonfly.

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The dragonfly is a chimerical creature from the Earth Kingdom bearing traits characteristic of both reptiles and insects.

History

While searching for Appa in the heart of Ba Sing Se, Aang noticed a small cage of dragonflies in the Ba Sing Se Zoo. After noticing the establishment's dilapidated state, Aang resolved to help Kenji reinvigorate interest in the zoo through its expansion and relocation to the city's Agrarian Zone. To this end, the Avatar released the dragonflies along with all of the other animals, intent on corralling them toward the zoo's new location. However, the creatures dispersed into the city, with several dragonflies harassing civilians and others perching atop structures. The Avatar resorted to using airbending as a means of warding off dragonflies from the city's inhabitants, before ultimately using his bison whistle to lead them to the newly created zoo.[1]

Anatomy

Dragonflies are slender, long-limbed, and long-tailed lizards bearing two pairs of wings located medially on the dorsal surface of the body. In contrast to many other insects, dragonfly wings are tapered both at the point of connection to the thorax and along the wingtip. These appendages can grow up to one meter in length and are membranous with reduced venation.[2] At rest, the wings are held over the back of the body and extended horizontally upon active flight. Each of the dragonfly's limbs bears a series of four clawed digits.

These creatures are predominantly dusky green in coloration with the exception of their faces, which are dark green and marked by a singular light green band. This marking extends over each eye and continues toward the snout, which is curved downward into a hook-like beak. Dragonflies have yellow eyes and bear a series of three dark green spines directly behind their heads. The ventral surface of the body is mint green in coloration and divided into a series of segments along the transverse plane.[1]

Behavior

Dragonflies have diets consisting of insects and fish, and although they can be nuisances to civilians, they are not aggressive to humans.[2] Wing musculature allows dragonflies to propel themselves through the air with relative ease, but strong gusts of wind are easily able to disrupt their flight patterns.

Dragonflies are also responsive to bison whistles and can be led through the use of these instruments. They are relatively functional in captivity given enough space to roam but tend to become inactive and lethargic if confined to restricted spaces, such as small cages. Dragonflies are also capable of functioning well in groups and are safe to keep in the same space as other dragonflies.[1]

Connection

The dragonfly is largely reptilian in its appearance, bearing a multitude of traits evident in modern day turtles, crocodiles, and lizards. These include spine-like projections along the head, plate-like structures for protection, and keratinized claws, the latter of which were first observed among reptilian clades.

Dragonfly wings are also attributable to members of Odonata, an order of insects encompassing real world dragonflies and damselflies. Particularly, these insects share the same type of long, membranous wings that are seen in dragonflies. The creatures native to the Earth Kingdom, however, are more similar to mayflies than they are to real world dragonflies, given the fact that they hold their wings over the abdomen at rest as opposed to the side of the body.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Estoesta, Joann, Wahlander, Lisa, Huebner, Andrew, Scheppke, Gary, MacMullan, Lauren, Mattila, Katie, Ridge, Justin, Volpe, Giancarlo (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (September 29, 2006). "The Tales of Ba Sing Se". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 15. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.

See also

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