A Baby Dragonfly’s Mouth Will Give You Nightmares | Deep Look


This episode of Deep Look is brought to you
by CuriosityStream. For over 300 million years, these lethal hunters
have ruled the skies. They’re the order Odonata. That’s dragonflies and damselflies to most
of us. Before the dinosaurs even existed, they had
a two-foot wingspan, like a small hawk. Today they’re more modest in scale, but
no less deadly. Take their eyes. Each tiny hexagonal cell picks up light from
a different direction, which gives dragonflies an almost-360-degree range of vision. Four wings help them hover, or turn on a dime. That means this hunter rarely misses. The weird thing is Odonata spend most of their
lives in a place where these killer piloting skills don’t help. This is where their mothers lay their eggs. When they hatch, the babies – called larvae
or nymphs – spend months or years underwater. Their wings are still growing, so they aren’t
any help in scoring a meal … like this tasty mosquito larva. It’s a larva-eat-larva world down here. Did you see that? Let’s slow it down. The nymph has a killer lip, called a labium. Remind you of this creepy thing? For this skimmer nymph it’s shaped like
a spork. Only dragonfly and damselfly nymphs have this
special lip. This kind of dragonfly nymph, a darner, has
an extra surprise. There’s a pair of pincers right at the end. It all happens in a fraction of a second. Think of the lip as a knife, fork and plate
all rolled into one. When the meal is over, it folds up neatly,
ready for the next occasion. These baby skeeters don’t stand a chance. And that’s good for us. Let’s hope it stays this way for a few million
more years. This episode is brought to you by CuriosityStream,
a subscription streaming service that offers documentaries and non-fiction titles from
some of the world’s best filmmakers, including exclusive originals. Want to learn more about dragonflies and other
insects? CuriosityStream’s video series “Insect
Dissection” investigates how insects evolved to dominate our world. To get unlimited access and your first two
months free, sign up at curiositystream.com/deeplook and use the promo code deeplook during the
sign-up process. Hi there. It’s Lauren again. If you’re curious about the history of dragonflies,
check out Eons, the newest science channel to join the PBS Digital Studios network. This week, Eons travels back in time to the
age of giant insects. And make sure to visit PBS Infinite Series,
a show about the mathematics that underpins everything in this puzzling, yet fascinating,
universe. Thanks for watching.

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