Dragonflies, photo: Eero Haapanen

Odonates belong in the Insecta class. In terms of their wing and body measurements, odonates are the largest insects in Estonia. They have a long and slim body, four long wings, and a head with large eyes. Their bodies are usually bright, mostly greenish or bluish. Their antennae are small and not very noticeable. There is a dense network of small veins on the wings. At the top of the wings, there is the pterostigma, which acts as a stabiliser during flight and prevents the thin wing from vibrating. Dragonflies live near waterbodies, which is why they can be used as an environmental indicator, which provides information on the health of the waterbody. All dragonflies only consume food of animal origin. They eat insects during flight: they feed on a variety of Diptera, Hymenoptera, butterflies, and Trichoptera. The size of the prey largely depends on the size of the dragonfly itself. 57 species of odonates have been registered in Estonia. In Tallinn, the most inhabited places are nearby Ülemiste Lake and Pääsküla bog (17 species). Paljassaare Conservation Area also offers numerous suitable habitats (puddles, ponds, and lakes that are overgrowing) for both larvae and imagoes. There are 16 species of odonates in Paljassaare. The most numerous species of Zygoptera is the common blue damselfly and in terms of Anisoptera, the migrant hawker. In Tallinn, there are three dragonfly species under protection (protection category III): the lilypad whiteface, the dark whiteface, and the large white-faced darter.