Meganeura is a member of the Meganisoptera genera, which is a part of the Protodonata suborder. They were the gigantic ancestors of the modern dragonfly. In fact this particular genera was the largest of all. It had a wingspan of 75cm to 1.5 m. The wing veination is extremely primitive with respect to modern species of the Odonate. All main veins except one (the Rs vein) had separate origins at the base of the wing. The characteristics of the true Odonata wing are not developed on this order. Like modern dragonflies they have long narrow bodies, huge eyes and strong jaws for eating prey.

The Meganisoptera were transitional between the Palaeodictyoptera and the Odonata. It is almost certain that larvae were aquatic and carnivorous as well. And that they feed on small aquatic vertebrates (fish and amphibians) or large invertebrates.

Only a few families and genera are known from this group, it appears to have been a small group. Fossil remains of Meganisoptera are known from the late Carboniferous of France, the early Permian of North America, the Late Permian of Russia and Australia. And there is a single record from the Triassic of France. The group may have persisted into the early Jurassic. And In fact the first fossil of the ancient Odonata came from the Permian Period. A reason for this groups low numbers in the fossil record may be that as adults they frequented areas where they would not have been easily fossilized.

Above is an artists rendition of what Meganeura looked liked in its natural setting.

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