Each eye sees at a 360 degree span. My mother always said she had eyes in the back of her head. The dragonfly actually does! Its wings can operate independently, so the dragonfly can fly up, down, left, right, forward and even backwards. Not many things can fly backwards, but the dragonfly can!
It moves its tail up or down, depending on whether it wants to warm up or cool down. It can tell exactly where the sun's rays will hit, and positions its tail accordingly.
There are about 450 species of dragonflies in the United States. Their legs form a basket to catch prey. They will eat mosquitos, flies, gnats, mayflies, ants, termites, and sometimes butterflies or bees. Most beekeepers don't appreciate the dragonfly being near, as it can eat enough equal to its own weight in about 30 minutes.
Dragonflies don't have stingers. Their long abdomens are for mating and egg laying only. They can, however, bite, and may try to bite you if you hold them down. Most, however, could not break the skin, and they are not poisonous. They don't actually have teeth, but strong jaws that chew their food, even though they belong to the Odonata class, which means tooth.
They like clean water, and are valued for their ability to find pure water. After mating (see picture below), the female will lay the eggs in water. The eggs hatch and the dragonfly first emerges as a nymph. Unlike the butterfly, the dragonfly does not go through a pupal stage. When the nymph is ready (this may take a year or more), it crawls above the water and hangs around the bank, waiting for its wings to dry, which takes several hours. At this stage, called a teneral, it is very vulnerable.
Predators of dragonflies include birds, lizards, frogs, and fish. It lives as a dragonfly from a few weeks to a few months. A lot depends upon the weather, as they are very vulnerable to winds, rain, and cold.
I haven't been especially enjoying our hot, dry weather, but my friends the dragonflies are, and that makes me happy.
Your dragonflies are very pretty and very different from mine. Interesting!ReplyDelete
They are such lovely insects and a welcome sight hovering over the pond. I used to catch them as a kid, but now I just leave them be and admire them from a distance :)ReplyDelete
Wow! I had no idea. Great information. I have always loved dragonflies but now I have more info and admire them even more.ReplyDelete
Wow I really love that green one. I don't think we have those here. Delightful post.ReplyDelete
I saw a dragonfly at the farm yesterday, but rarely are they in the city. I think they are very beautiful creatures, but would not to have the life of one.Your images are wonderful. It is fun to see the insects up close.ReplyDelete
I have never been able to photograph a dragonfly even though they do frequent my garden. Wow on all the shots! What is your secret?ReplyDelete
Lovely post. I wonder if there are any in my pond this year. I get home tomorrow and will be looking at it on Wednesday. Yeah~ it will be good to get back home.ReplyDelete
One - Your orange dragonflies are quite beautiful. I've never seen an orange dragonfly here, but these are still pretty, I think.ReplyDelete
Mark and Gaz - Oh, the things that used to suffer from our childhoods! lol I could never catch a dragonfly - they were too fast for me - but a lot of other flying creatures were captured.
Tufa Girl - I didn't know much of this either, until I started looking. Dragonflies have always been a bit mystical to me, now I have a lot of respect for their varied, interesting, and short lives.
Grace - The green one probably thinks he's camouflaged! ;) I, too, think he's very pretty.
GWGT - Since they like water that's pure, they probably prefer rural areas. Of all the insects, though, it must be interesting to fly backwards!
Tina - No secret. Just like butterflies, I stand very still, and hope they come into the range of my camera, instead of chasing them with the camera lens. Thanks for the compliment.
Marcia - I know you must be a little homesick. I hope you find dragonflies, butterflies, and blooms awaiting your return.
Great closeup photos you captured and interesting to read about them.ReplyDelete
Great post with picture close-ups. We get dragonfly visitors to our goldfish pond every summer too, and I love seeing them.ReplyDelete
Such beautiful colours of those dragonflies! Ive seen red and grey ones near my small pond but cant get close enough to photograph them like yours..indeed they have eyes at the back of their heads!ReplyDelete
Beautiful photographs of these insects. How in the world you got a photo of the fly cupping it's hands. Amazing. I had no idea why their tails went up and down, I've learned something here today.ReplyDelete
Cher - Thanks. I was most excited to get a shot of the mating pair. They flew around for a long time before they decided to rest for a moment.ReplyDelete
Bumble Lush - I love seeing the dragonflies more than the butterflies, I think.
p3chandan - They do fly around a lot! I captured the blue ones on a very hot day. I think they needed to cool off a bit!
Marguerite - I noticed (you can see in the first picture) that these dragonflies were almost doing hand stands. I think they were trying very hard to cool off a bit.
Great shots! I'll try your technique. i have bees mobbing my bird bath and would like to capture a photo of them. We love dragonflies, too, but I've not seen many this year.ReplyDelete
So interesting--thanks, Holley, for sharing all that research (and those beautiful photos)! (I've had dragonflies laying eggs in my birdbath the last couple of summers--kind of sad, since the eggs won't have a chance to hatch, let alone mature.)ReplyDelete
Cynthia - I just started seeing the dragonflies this year, so perhaps you will see them soon. I hope you get some great pictures of the bees.ReplyDelete
Alistair - Thank you. Creatures really are amazing things, aren't they?
Stacy - That is kind of sad. I've wondered about vacuuming out the goldfish pond. The fish know to move away, but I wonder if I'm vacuuming up dragonfly eggs.
Great post. So much I did'nt know about Dragonflies. Lovely Pics.ReplyDelete
Arignagardener - That's how I felt when I started researching them. They are interesting little things.ReplyDelete
Wonderful post! Dragonflies are one of my favorite insects. You got some great closeup shots of them, too.ReplyDelete
fouracreobsession - They are one of my favorites, too. The wings are so delicate looking. It's amazing to me they don't get torn up in the wind.ReplyDelete