The Meaning of Dragonfly: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of the dragonfly? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the dragonfly, including its meaning in spirituality, the animal  totem, the dragonfly power animal, dragonfly spirit guide, dragonfly tattoo meaning and more!

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What does the dragonfly mean?

According to Dragonfly Transitions, World Birds, and Uniguide, the dragonfly symbolizes transformation, adaptability, grace, change, prosperity, strength, courage, peace, harmony, and self-realization. This is often used in the sense of mental and emotional maturity to understand the deeper meaning of life, mimicking the dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water. Dragonfly symbolism is important to understand. Dragonflies imbue a sort of magic wisdom of self-realization, and we may not even see it before our very eyes! The dragonfly means elegance and grace met with a magical iridescence of the wings. This magical property of iridescence of the creature also relates to illusions and self realization – the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self behind a mask.  

Unlike other insects like the mosquito, the dragonfly spends most of its life as a nymph with a lack of maturity. This represents a purity to the creature. In Navajo and other Native Americans’ tribes’ folklore, they represent spring, rebirth, and renewal. For the Navajo specifically, the dragonfly represents pure water. Many tribes revere the dragonfly just like wolves, bears, owls, hummingbirds, and others. In the Southwest of the United States, tribes refer to the dragonfly as the snake doctor because it is believed that they follow snakes and heal them if they get injured. In Japan as per the legends and myths, the emperor was struck by the resemblance of the Japanese hero Jimmu-Tenno to the beautiful creature of the dragonfly. It is also associated with the samurai warrior here. In many cultures, the dragonfly is also associated with the warrior.

Scientifically, dragonflies belong to the order Odonata and are found on many continents. There are nearly 5000 species of dragonflies. The dragonfly stays in the larval stage for months or even years before they molt. The dragonfly is able to rapidly move its wings while its body stays still in order to wait in silence until the exact moment it hopes to strike and  catch its prey. This shows a beautiful balance between action and meditation. 

According to School of Bugs, dragonflies first evolved over 300 million years ago. Dragonflies used to be gigantic, with up to a couple of feet in wingspan. This occurred during the oxygen abundant Paleozoic Era. Nowadays, dragonflies are small and between 2 to 5 in in wingspan. There are many different vibrant colors that a dragonfly can have, which are not just aesthetic, but service specific purposes. Sometimes, these colors help dragonflies camouflage and blend into their surroundings. Other times, they are used to attract mates or ward off predators. There are two different types of colors that are found on dragonflies. The first is natural pigmentation, and the second are structural colors. 

The dragonflies colors can also vary by age, sex and body part. The dragonflies often change color when they move from the larval stage to the nymph or young adult stage, and eventually to the adult stage. Dragonfly nymphs are usually made to blend into brown and grey colors, but get brighter as they mature. Male and female dragonflies also usually develop distinctly different colors. This is part of the strategy to help dragonflies find mates. Dragonflies often have different colors on their bodies versus their wings, which are usually iridescent. The wings may have brown patches or multicolored veins. Their eyes may come in different shimmering compound colors.

According to Insect Identification, There are many different species of dragonfly around the world. In North America alone, There are over 5,500 species and over 450 of these can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Dragonflies are more common than damselflies but the two share many of the same behaviors and physical characteristics. They are both considered species of the classification odonata, which has species that are found near fresh water and are found on pleasant and sunny days. The different patterns, colors and Wing designs vary greatly between species, as do their lengths. The giant Darner dragonfly can get to be as long as 5 in. All of the different dragonflies have bulging eyes on the sides of their head and each of those eyes has thousands of honeycomb-shaped lenses, which provide excellent vision for the dragonfly to catch its prey. Every dragonfly has six legs which are also used for grabbing and clasping prey, or for landing on different breeds and plants. The wings of the dragonfly are Vain and look like two pairs of straight appendages. 

  •   Wandering Glider
  •   Halloween Pennant
  •   Azure Bluet
  •   Double-striped Bluet
  •   Shadow Darner
  •   Eastern Amberwing
  •   Common Whitetail Skimmer
  •   Twelve-spotted Skimmer
  •   Western Flying Adder
  •   Fragile Forktail
  •   Eastern Pondhawk
  •   American Bluet Damselfly
  •   Autumn Meadowhawk
  •   Great Blue Skimmer
  •   Lance-tipped Darner
  •   Yellow-sided Skimmer
  •   Four-spotted Pennant
  •   Seepage Dancer
  •   Banded Pennant
  •   Dragonhunter
  •   Familiar Bluet
  •   Slaty Skimmer
  •   Blue-eyed Darner
  •   Blue Dasher
  •   Common Sanddragon
  •   Ebony Jewelwing
  •   Red Saddlebags
  •   Widow Skimmer
  •   Flame Skimmer
  •   Giant Darner
  •   Black Saddlebags Skimmer
  •   Mosaic Darner Dragonfly
  •    Stream Bluet
  •   Orange Meadowhawk
  •   Common Green Darner
  •   Blue-fronted Dancer

Overall, the spiritual meaning of dragonflies is one of agility, renewal and a sense of identity. While the dragonfly may mean a different thing in every part of the world, from Sweden to America and more, the dragonfly is associated with discovery and a symbol of good luck. Look out for a dragonfly today!


  1. Why the Dragonfly? | Dragonfly Transitions 
  2. Dragonfly Meaning, Symbolism & Spirit Animal [+ Colors] | Uniguide 
  3. Dragonfly Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens) | World Birds 
  4. Dragonflies and Damselflies | Insect Identification 
  5. The Color of Dragonflies – Blue, Black, Orange and Many More! – School Of Bugs