Learn about Beautiful Dragonflies with Pictures
Visit from a Dragonfly
One day while glancing outside of our kitchen dining area window a strikingly beautiful gossamer winged dragonfly came to rest upon one of my tomato stakes. As it shifted position around the metal stake it's translucent wings caught rays of sunlight which made its wings sparkle with luminescence.
Thinking that it would probably fly away if I approached it with my digital camera, I decided to try to capture its image anyway.
Low and behold although it did take flight a few times, it circled the air above and came back down to light upon that same tomato stake seemingly unafraid of my presence.
As it shifted position I kept snapping pictures with my digital camera and here in this post are the results. Enjoy!
Some Interesting Facts about Dragonflies
While not an expert by any means regarding dragonflies (or insects of any type for that matter) in researching some information for this article I discovered a few facts that I thought were interesting.
Perhaps you can use some of these tidbits to throw out as conversation starters at your next dinner party or standing around the water cooler at your office. Ha!
- Dragonflies come from the insect order Odonata. They have 4 wings, 6 legs and multi-faceted eyes on top of their elongated bodies.
- The main way one can tell a dragonfly (the male) from a damselfly (the female) is when they are resting. The dragonfly wings are spread out perpendicular to the body while the damselfly holds it wings against its body.
- There have been fossils found of dragonflies with up to 30 inch wingspans! Jurassic Park kind of stuff! Today the largest ones, according to what I have read get no bigger than 5 to 6 inches. That is much larger than the one who visited here. I would estimate his total wingspan at possibly 3 1/2 to 4 inches in length.
- Dragonflies and damselflies have been around for 325 million years! I am personally glad the modern ones are not as large as during the dinosaur periods of time!
- Many different types are quite colorful both in their bodies and in the coloration of wings. In fact from all around the world dragonflies have been featured on around 400 different postage stamps because of their unique beauty. I probably have some of them in my stamp collection.
- Dragonflies live, breed and lay eggs in and around water environments. Their developing larvae called nymphs can live in the water up to 5 years eating mosquito larvae and even small fish fry among other things. When the nymphs shed their skin and morph into the adult stage, assuming they are not eaten by birds or killed in other ways, they often fly away from water during that maturation stage which can last from a few days to a couple of weeks. Their bodies and wings are hardening during this stage.
This was probably why the visiting dragonfly visited our garden. Perhaps he was a young adult who thought our tomato stake looked like a great place to rest for a while?
- Adult dragonflies can live up to 5 or 6 years.
The one in our backyard let me get amazing close with a camera. He came back a second day and perched on the same spot.
He probably returned to a nearby drainage ditch where he will mate and help his damselfly lay her eggs and live out his life as a territorial predator of mosquitoes, flies and other insects.
However he is welcome to come back and grace our yard with his ethereal beauty and fill up on mosquitoes anytime he wishes. In fact if I could communicate with him I would encourage his stay here!
Do you often see dragonflies or damselflies where you live?
I am certainly a beginner when it comes to identifying dragonflies but enjoy learning more about them all the time.
There are so many that live here in Houston! We often see them buzzing about in parks and wooded places especially if there is water nearby.
If you would enjoy seeing many more dragonflies as well as damselflies in just about every color of the rainbow while listening to music, click on the video below. These are such amazing creatures!
© 2009 Peggy Woods