Follow TV Tropes


Dreadful Dragonfly

Go To
Sometimes, authors become bored of the overwhelmingly common Giant Spiders and Creepy Centipedes and try to get a little more creative with their Big Creepy-Crawlies.

Dragonflies can fill the role to perfection. After all, they combine high-speed flight, toothed mandibles, and gigantic compound eyes. This makes them some of the most formidable predators among insects, being able to prey upon even small fish. They are also quite big for insects, and their younger life stages are just as deadly: dragonfly nymphs are aquatic predators with extensible mandibles that burst out to capture prey, and they habitually prey on tadpoles and other small vertebrates. As such, giant dragonflies would be an incredibly terrifying sight for hapless humans, who would have no hope of outrunning them and surviving their teeth.

Subtrope of Big Creepy-Crawlies, and subsequently of Dire Beast. Compare Slaying Mantis, another insect that's often portrayed as scary or badass.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon: Yanmamon, one of the lesser-known Digimon species, is a dragonfly the size of grown human. Interestingly, its appearance seems to incorporate elements of both adult dragonflies and their no less ferocious nymphs.
  • Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee: Tthe Gaichuu take the form of insects and arachnids, and Cabernet, the one Reverse sends to devour the artificial sun, takes the form of a dragonfly. It's one of the largest and most powerful Gaichuu in the series, second only to Spiritus, the one inside the sun, and takes the protagonists' combined efforts to defeat. It's also one of the few Gaichuu that is able to fly.
  • Heaven's Design Team: Chapter 3 opens with a 70-cm-long dragonfly escaping the Insect Department before it can be shrunken down to a more insect-appropriate size, briefly terrifying the designers before Ueda catches it. This is a reference to Meganeura, the real-life ancestor to modern dragonflies and damselflies that indeed could reach up to 70 centimeters in length.
  • Space Family Carlvinson has 3-meter long alien dragonflies that go against the little protagonist, but they are just animals acting on instinct, keeping with the No Antagonist tone of the OAV.

    Fan Works 
  • Surprisingly averted with the meganeura and meganeuropsis in Prehistoric Park Reimagined. While they are of the appropriate size of this trope, they only prove difficult to capture by virtue of being rather fast and difficult to properly catch by the rescue team rather than out of any sense of aggression or violence amongst them.

    Films — Animation 
  • Fun and Fancy Free: In the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy make their way across the giant's moat when they see a swarm of giant dragonflies flying overhead. Donald teases them by making machine gun noises, and one of them attacks. They are saved when a giant fish eats the dragonfly.
  • The Steam Engines of Oz: The Tin Man's Mecha-Mooks include giant mechanical dragonflies which he sends after the munchkin air force.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus has the titular Megaguirus herself, the gigantic queen of the Meganulons, which are smaller (and first appeared in the movie Rodan) but still big by human standard versions of this trope.

  • Lone Wolf, book 19 Wolf's Bane: Upon being sent to the moon Avaros, Lone Wolf finds himself in a tropical jungle of humongous flowers populated by giant insects. Among them are giant dragonflies. Lone Wolf can use one of the smallest as a flying steed thanks to his Animal Control, only to be attacked during flight by a gigantic one.

  • The Dinosaur Lords: Falconry is practised on Paradise using enormous dragonflies rather than birds.
  • In the Past Doctor Adventures novel Island of Death, the Doctor mentions the Sclaponian Dragonflies. Not much is known about them, but since he nearly lost an entire leg to such a creature, one can imagine how humongous those insects are.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Giant dragonflies appeared as a new monster in module EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror and later in the Monster Manual 2. They are man-sized, have up to 64 Hit Points, and are very hard to hit in combat. They are known to attack human beings and can kill a normal human in a single combat round.
  • Pathfinder: Giant dragonflies are a fairly rare type of swamp-dwelling giant insect that grow to be around the size of a horse. They're fast, agile, and voracious hunters quite willing to hunt and eat humanoids as regular fare. Their nymphs also appear as statted monsters, but they are (naturally) smaller, flightless, and less of a danger.
  • Rifts: Giant clamp-mouth dragonflies are immense alien insects native to England; they resemble outsized, serpentine dragonflies with four pairs of wings, two behind the head and two much further back, as well as natural armor plating and giant three-pronged mouths. They're ferocious predators that seize prey with their jaws, which are almost impossible for human-like prey to force open, and eat them alive with their inner set of mouthparts.

    Video Games 
  • Alice: Madness Returns has the annoying Bolterflies, big dragonflies made out of nuts and bolts. They attack Alice by latching on her and draining her energy, immobilizing her. Bolterflies live in nests and spawn indefinitely until said nests are destroyed.
  • Among the new weapons introduced in Bayonetta 2 was Kafka, a giant, dragonfly-themed bow. Its summons are Carnages, giant dragonfly demons with particularly large maws. These are also summoned in the against Malicious in one of the most brutal Torture Attacks in the series during which the poor demon gets Eaten Alive by the darners.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has Buzzbomb, a dragonfly enemy who inhabits Bubblegloop Swamp, the Autumn season of Click Clock Wood, and certain areas of Grunty's Lair. Buzzbombs fly around in the air and swoop down to attack Banjo and Kazooie, but they are relatively weak enemies who can easily be taken out with Kazooie's Rat-a-tat Rap ability.
  • Bug has a Dragon-Fly, who is Bug's mount that only appears in the end-of-world Bonus Levels. It resembles a dragonfly with a dragon's head! The first boss of the sequel Bug Too! is a dragon-fly — this time, an actual dragon but with dragonfly wings.
  • Bug Fables:
    • Thieves are dragonflies who appear as common enemies in the Lost Sands, along with other Desert Bandits. Besides being constantly airborne and able to create gusts of damaging wind, they can also steal the party's items and flee, making them particularly annoying to deal with.
    • Riz the damselfly is a paranoid hick who believes anyone who passes near his village to be poachers who want to harm his family, and when Team Snakemouth encounters him, he attacks them without letting them explain themselves, initiating the boss fight. In battle, he's a very formidable opponent, capable of using the spear made of a pen nib that can ink party members, preventing them from using skills, and can also use drill-bombs that strike after two-turn delay, hitting hard and also inflicting status effects, making him very hard to beat. However, he's not actually evil and only wants to protect his family, and when the team defeats him and assures they mean no harm, he apologizes for attack and grants them passage to his village.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has giant acid-spitting dragonflies as enemies.
  • Cool Spot has dragonfly enemies that attack Spot in the beach levels. They're some of the more difficult enemies to defeat because they move fast and erratically, making it difficult for Spot to land his shots on, and can rapidly inflict a lot of damage on him if he doesn't take them down quickly.
  • In Cuphead, a giant dragonfly appears as a Mini-Boss of Treetop Trouble. It also breathes fire, making it a literal dragon-fly.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest introduced the Flitters, big blue dragonflies from the Kremling Krew that patrol definite paths and hurt Diddy and Dixie should they touch the darners. Fortunately, they are quite weak.
    • Donkey Kong 64 has the boss monster Dogadon, whose design emphasizes the "dragon" more than the "fly", but who nonetheless has two pairs of insectoid wings.
    • The Monocle Monicas from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are huge dragonfly-like creatures approximatively the size of Donkey Kong. They quickly move forward and backward from a point A to a point B and contact with them will harm Donkey Kong.
  • Don't Starve: The Dragonfly is one of the three Giants — enormous boss enemies that each appear and attack during a specific season — introduced in the Reign of Giants DLC. It's considerably bigger than the players or most other enemies in the game, and will attack the moment it sees you. It's also a lot more reptilian and pyrokinetic than dragonflies usually are, being a literal dragon-fly.
  • The Dragon Quest series has the Dragonfry and Dragonfly monsters, which are giant dragonflies crossed with lizards. They have an affinity for fire spells and fire breath.
  • DuckTales 2: Large Dragonflies appear in the Egypt stage as enemies, hovering just out of reach of Scrooge's pogo-jump. They appear with a very distinct buzzing sound. They don't get in your way however and are best avoided.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Spy Flies, dragonflies the size of grown adult humans with a hardened, knife-edged tail, are the main troop type in Mensouma's bioroid army. While usually cannon fodder against player characters, Attack of Darkforce shows how horrific they can truly be against human populations, when one smashes into an airplane's cockpit and skewers the pilot with a single swipe of its tail.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2, Vegnagun, a massive machina weapon with the power to destroy Spira that resembles a giant mechanical dragonfly.
  • In Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, it has dragonflies that appear as large enemies that Buck must face.
  • Kolibri has normal-sized dragonflies, but the player character is a normal-sized hummingbird, and the dragonflies have been driven berserk and given ranged weapons by a corrupting alien crystal.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has the tall, threatening-looking Dragonflies. Their tails are charged with electricity and they attack Link by swinging said tails at him.
  • Mega Man X6 has a boss called Commander Yammark, a dragonfly Maverick who summons smaller dragonflies with his Yammar Option.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has Chykka, the boss of Torvus Bog, in its second form. It simply rams you and spawns smaller versions of itself to attack.
  • Pokémon has the Yanma line. While Yanma (introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver) is already fairly large at three feet and eleven inches, it's quite cute and not all that scary. Then Pokémon Diamond and Pearl gave it an evolution: the monstrous Yanmega. Not only does it have a very intimidating appearance, it stands at a whopping six feet and three inches in height/length, making it the biggest Bug-type Pokémon until Scolipede stole the title. Even worse, the Pokédex states that it has powerful jaws that can bite foes and prey in half (and it is quite fond of doing this), and that it can create shockwaves with its wings. To top all of that, it is very fast. One wouldn't want to get on its bad side...
  • Alexia Ashford's final form in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica resembles a dragonfly with a human face.
  • In Rugrats Castle Capers, dragonflies serve as enemies in "Beanstalk Babies".
  • Dragonfly badniks have appeared in the Sonic the Hedgehog series:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog CD has Tonbo in Tidal Tempest, which just flew back and forth and didn't really try to attack.
    • Sonic & Knuckles has the aptly named Dragonflies in Mushroom Hill Zone, who notably have spiky abdomens with which they skewer their foes. These same badniks also reappears in Sonic Mania's Press Garden Zone.
    • Sonic 3D Blast has Dragfly, who inhabits Spring Stadium Zone. It hovers erratically at a set point and can only harm Sonic if the hedgehog walks straight into it.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Planet Blobule is the home of strange dragonfly aliens called the Choppas. They are as big as Mario, have very unpredictable movement patterns and can freely flip between dimensions, making them dangerous enemies.
  • The Dragumfly in Viva Piñata is dreadful to other insect piñatas, since it eats most of them.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Some species of dragonflies are rather big insects, although nowhere near the size of fictitious ones. The biggest one is the Giant Petaltail, which has a wingspan of 16 cm (over 6 inches). Thankfully, they are harmless to humans.
  • Prehistoric dragonflies, from the Meganeura genus, were even bigger, with some reaching a wingspan of 65 to 70 cm (up to 2'08). Try to imagine those monsters flying into your room... A bit of a borderline case, as Meganeura and its relatives (such as Meganeuropsis, which is thought to have had a slightly larger wingspan overall) are not thought to have been true dragonflies but rather a distinct — and extinct — group of insects dubbed "griffinflies", very large relatives of modern dragonflies and damselflies.
  • In Western culture, dragonflies are frequently cast in a negative light. Places like Britain, Portugal, and Sweden give them such nicknames as "eye-snatchers", "ear cutters", and "devil's darning needles", while some American old wives' tales say they stitch up injured venomous snakes, earning them the regional nickname "snake doctors".