Temporal range: Late Carboniferous
Scientific classification

General Information

Meganeura (meaning 'large-nerved') was a large dragonfly with a 75 centimetre wingspan, and it lived in the Late Carboniferous, and became extinct at the turning of the period. In its age, it was the largest of all flying animals, and would rival the birds in size were it alive today. It did not just eat insects and arthropods, like its closest living relative, the dragonfly, as other prey was available, such as the swift petrolacosaurus. Its legs were covered in spines and, with the help of its 'tail limbs', could grasp very effectively at this prey.

Popular Culture

In Walking with Monsters, meganeura are seen avoiding amphibians' bites as they fly overhead, and in Prehistoric Park, Nigel Marven attempts to capture one as to transport it back to the park to study it in the insect house.