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How did the dragonfly get its name?

Dragonflies are one of the most fascinating insects. They have a very distinct appearance with their wings and long body. As a predator, they eat many insects that might plague your home and yard, including mosquitoes, houseflies, ants and bees. However, the origin of their name is a bit of mystery. The origin is not definitive, but there are many wonderful folklore stories to explain the origin of the name.

Romanian Folklore

In old Romanian folklore, the dragonfly was actually a horse ridden by Saint George. St. George rid the mythical town of Silence of the dragon that lived in the town’s pond and poisoned the town. After wounding the dragon, he leashed the dragon and gave it to the town’s princess. Saint George’s horse became a giant flying insect when cursed by the devil. In the Romanian language, the word for dragonfly translates into Devil’s Horse or Devil’s fly. The Romanian word for devil is drac, which can also indicate dragon. In English, it translated to dragonfly.

Native American Folklore

For the Zuni tribe, dragonflies are a symbol of spring and good harvests. It is said that the Zuni abandoned their land when it became barren. In their haste to leave, they left behind a small brother and sister. The brother created an insect doll made from grass and corn, which came to life. As the children suffered from hunger, the doll flew away to find the corn maidens. With the corn maidens came the return of the fertile land and the tribe. The insect doll asked for a companion. Their offspring were called dragonflies from then on to today.

Swedish Folklore

In ancient Swedish folklore, the dragonfly is called Skams besman, which translate to Devil’s Steelyard. This name is derived from the shape of a dragonfly’s body. If you use a little imagination, its body shape begins to resemble a weighting tool. The people believed that the Devil used the dragonfly to weigh people’s souls. The dragonfly would circle a person to get the measure of their soul. If your soul was found wanting, you could expect to be seriously injured in the near future. Today, dragonflies are considered holy animals in the Scandinavian countries.

While we might never know the true origins of how the dragonfly received its name. It is fun to learn more about the possible origins of the name and the folklore associated with this insect.

While Clegg’s does not service Dragonflys, we always like to provide our customers with insect information. However, if you have problems with any other type of pest, we’d love to help. Contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.


Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonfly


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