The Suitcase Lady

Dragonflies

August 11, 2015, 10:29 pm

They are a bug that is easy to love. Dragonflies are sensational little drones, and they recently took over our lakeshore.

We woke up one morning last week to a yard alive with hundreds of these aerodynamic insects. Not being an entomologist, I can’t identify which of the 5,ooo species we are hosting. But I do know they are huge and clearly visible in the below photo of our front yard.

DF_MT

For a week, our yard resembled an air show. These creatures are amazing aviators who can mimic a helicopter and more. Dragonflies can fly straight up, down, backwards, hover and change direction quickly. And all the while they are grabbing prey with their feet and filling their mouths. One dragonfly can gorge on hundreds of mosquitoes a day.

Dragonflies, one of the first winged species, existed before dinosaurs, evolving over 300 million years ago. The fossil record shows that their wingspans in the Paleozoic era reached a whooping two and a half feet. Our modern dragonflies’ wings measure two to five inches.

DF_Fun

Belonging to the order Odonata, these fliers undergo incomplete metamorphosis, in other words, they skip the pupa stage. The larva, which have gills, live solely in water for several years and eat aquatic insects, tadpoles and small fish. When the time to grow up arrives, the larva crawls out of the water and gulps air to expand. The outer skin splits and the adult dragonfly crawls out. After drying its wings, the newly minted dragonfly darts off. Most live less than a month.

One of our neighbors spent hours with his camera and tele photo lens and captured this image…not an easy feat when the subject matter is zig zagging at thirty miles per hour.

DF_Joe

 


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