The symbolism of the dragonfly speaks to the powerful yet gentle nature. The Dragon Fly is agile enough to capture and devour mosquitoes (universally acknowledged as pests and spreaders of disease) and yet, like the butterfly, it is amazingly beautiful as it hovers above the fields, alone or in groups. In Europe, dragonflies have often been seen as sinister. Some English vernacular names, such as "devil's darning needle" and "ear cutter", link them with evil or injury.
A Romanian folk tale says that the dragonfly was once a horse possessed by the devil. Swedish folklore holds that the devil uses dragonflies to weigh people's souls. However, the Norwegian name for dragonflies is "Øyenstikker", which literally means Eye Poker and in Portugal they are sometimes called "Tira-olhos" (Eye snatcher). They are often associated with snakes, as in the Welsh name gwas-y-neidr, "adder's servant".
The Southern United States term "snake doctor" refers to a folk belief that dragonflies follow snakes around and stitch them back together if they are injured. For some Native American tribes they represent swiftness and activity, and for the Navajo they symbolize pure water.
In Japan dragonflies symbolize "martial success," due to similarity in the sound of the word "dragonfly" and "victory" in Japanese. As a seasonal symbol, the dragonfly is associated with late summer and early autumn. More generally, in Japan dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially haiku. In ancient mythology, Japan was known as Akitsushima, which means "Land of the Dragonflies".
Dragonfly: A Breakdown
Wings: A dragonfly's hind wings are larger than its front wings, which can symbolise times getting better in the future.
Nymph: A dragonfly's larval stage, known as a Nymph, eats Mosquito Larvae, which can be seen as Youth stopping evil before it begins.
Breathing: A dragonfly will stop using gills and start to breath air on contact with it. This may be seen as adapting to harsh circumstances quickly.