Hello, Mr Dragonfly!
Dragonfly in Slow Motion
Introducing the Dragonfly
The dragonfly is a fascinating and beautiful creature of many different sizes and colors.
During the summertime, I am amazed by the amount of dragonflies that delight us with their presence, if only for a short period of time. Their wings beat at exceptional speed as they fly around, feasting on mosquitoes and other bugs, displaying the suberb array of colors on their bodies, and landing just once in a while to allow me to enjoy their beauty.
Allow me to share some very interesting facts about our friend, Mr. Dragonfly...
- According to fossil records, the dragonfly dates back 300 million years.
- The largest dragonfly ever recorded from fossil records had a incredible wingspan of about 2.5 feet!
- The largest dragonfly ever found alive was in Costa Rica, with a wingspan of 7.5 inches.
- There are about 5,000 different species of dragonflies in the world today
- Most dragonfly species life in tropical areas
- No dragonflies have ever been found on the continent of Antarctica.
- There are about 450 different species of dragonfly in the United States.
- Dragonflies are great garden companions because they eat any harmful insects such as mosquitoes, gnats, spiders, ants and other pesky bugs.
- Dragonflies are harmless to humans; they do not bite or sting, in fact they are quite friendly and will happily land on you!
- Dragonflies fly at approximately 30-60 mph, in a similar fashion to that of a helicopter. They can move up, down, forward, backward and hover, too!
- The dragonfly’s sight is it’s most significant sense; each eye contains up to 30,000 little lenses.
- The dragonfly’s natural predator is the bird.
The Dragonfly Life Cycle
The Egg Stage
After mating, the female dragonfly lays eggs in the water, on a suitable plant if she can find one.
The Nymph Stage
After the dragonfly eggs have hatched, the dragonfly larva that emerges (otherwise known as a “dragonfly nymph”) begins it’s journey into developing into a full grown dragonfly. Dragonfly larvae, or nymphs, don’t have any wings at this stage, in fact they seem somewhat alien-like to begin with.
Dragonfly nymphs will grow in the water until they are fully developed into adult dragonflies, a process that can take up to four years. This is the longest period of the dragonfly’s life cycle. Dragonfly nymphs may remain in water or swampy marshes until springtime, when the weather is warmer and they are encouraged to come out and begin their adulthood phase.
The Adult Phase
After four years or so as a nymph, the dragonfly completes it’s metamorphosis stage and emerges out of the water, shedding its skin as it comes up to the air. The shedded skin, otherwise known as exuvia, will usually be shedded onto a plant stem as he approaches the surface.
Now a full grown adult dragonfly, the first mission for the dragonfly is to find food, and another adult dragonfly for a mate. The adult dragonfly will take his mate to a suitable pond or lake where the female dragonfly will be able to lay her own eggs.
Adult dragonflies only live a couple of months and so once they reach adulthood, they are quick to start the life cycle all over again.
Watch this YouTube video to see the different stages of the dragonfly life cycle, in HD:
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