Fragile Beauty -- Dragonflies and Damselflies Are Like Nature's Glass Menagerie
First, the Dragonflies...
Dragonflies are very beautiful yet very fragile creatures. Their wings are like slivers of glass yet they propel them through the air with a grace and maneuverability unmatched by any other being except perhaps the hummingbird. I simply offer beauty here as I have before. Beauty in a slightly different, though still quite natural, form.
Here are some interesting dragonfly facts:
- Dragonflies are strong fliers and have been clocked at over 30 miles per hour.
- When at rest, dragonflies spread their wings behind them.
- Dragonflies do not hunt when the temperature is cold.
- Dragonflies eat mostly smaller insects such as flies and mosquitoes, moths and occasionally other dragonflies.
- Dragonflies are considered predators but are also hunted by creatures such as birds, bats, frogs, lizards, spiders and, oh yeah... other dragonflies.
- Dragonflies can live several years but only a few months of that time is spent as an adult dragonfly.
Here are some dragonfly myths:
- Dragonflies were once called "snake doctors" because it was in the southern United States believed they followed snakes around healing their injuries and even bringing dead snakes back to life.
- Dragonflies were once known as "the Devil's darning needles" because it was believed they would sew the lips of bad children together while they were sleeping.
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Apache Spiketail (Cordulegaster diadema)
Yellow-winged Darter (Sympetrum flaveolum)
Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum)
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
Tamaulipan Clubtail (Gomphus gonzalezi)
Black Clubtail (Hagenius brevistylus)
The Black Clubtail is also known as the Black Dragon. But perhaps more interestingly, it has a third name -- Dragonhunter. At almost 3 1/2 inches, the Dragonhunter is significantly larger than other North American dragonflies. It uses this size to its advantage, often attacking and eating smaller dragonflies as well as damselflies and even Monarch Butterflies! They have a reputation as ferocious hunters, often attacking prey from above.
Second, the Damselflies...
Damselflies are closely related to dragonflies but have some distinct differences, primarily in their wing structure and their eyes. Either is very beautiful, especially in flight. Like dragonflies, damselflies live most of their lives before they become adults, living only a few months at most in the adult stage. Beauty is such a fragile thing!
Here are some facts about damselflies:
- When at rest, damselflies fold their wings behind their body.
- Compared to dragonflies, damselflies are weak fliers.
- Damselfly nymphs live in water but feed by climbing plants and eating other insects and their larvae.
- Adult damselflies eat small insects such as flies and mosquitoes.
- Unlike dragonflies, cold weather does not keep damselflies from hunting.
- Some larger tropical damselflies will hover near a spider's web and pick the spider off to eat.
Large Red Damsel (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
Western Red Damsel (Amphiagrion abbreviatum )
Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)
Vivid Dancer (Argia vivida)
Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis)
Smoky Rubyspot (Hetaerina titia)
American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana )
How to tell the difference between a drgonfly and a damselfly...
Front wings different than back wings
All wings the same.
Very close together or touching
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