Flight has appeared only a few times in Earth's history. Insects were the first group to take to the skies and at the top of the aerial food chain was a swift, voracious predator that survives today almost unchanged for over 300 million years. Since before the age of the dinosaurs, dragonflies have been darting through the air hunting and catching smaller flying insects.

Despite their success, the adult dragonfly does not have a long lifespan, usually lasting weeks or months depending on the species. One common example of this is the Brown Hawker.

Brown Hawker females are currently laying their eggs below the surface of the water, completing their life cycles. Their offspring will then hatch and only leave the water to acquire their adult wings. Once airborne, their main objective is to mate and lay eggs. Many dragonflies will be caught by predators before this and if they aren't, they will only live for a few months as adults.

This may make it seem like the dragonfly has a relatively short life, but this isn't the case.

Although the adults live for only a few months, the larvae that live underwater can live for up to four or five years. They manage this by feeding on anything they can find and then hibernating through each winter at the bottom of the pond. Because of the lost time, it can take years for the larvae to grow large enough to transform to adulthood.

The adults, which can be seen in a vast array of colours, can be spotted throughout summer and into Autumn. See how many different species of the 'Jewels of the Sky' you can spot this year.

Question: How many times a second does a dragonfly flap its wings?

Answer: Up to 30 times!