Odonata is an order of flying insects that includes the dragonflies and damselflies. Like most other flying insects (flies, beetles, Lepidoptera, and Hymenoptera), they evolved in the early Mesozoic era.
Their prototypes, the giant dragonflies of the Carboniferous, 325 MYA, are no longer placed in the Odonata but included in the Protodonata or Meganisoptera. The two common groups are easily distinguished with dragonflies, placed in the suborder Epiprocta, usually being larger, with eyes together and wings up or out at rest, while damselflies, suborder Zygoptera, are usually smaller with eyes placed apart and wings along body at rest. The giant Upper Carboniferous dragonfly ancestor, Meganeura monyi, had a wingspan of about 680 mm (27 in).
Museum of Toulouse All Odonata have aquatic larvae called nymphs, and all of them, larvae and adults, are carnivorous. The adults can land, but rarely walk. Their legs are specialised for catching prey. They are almost entirely insectivorous.