08 September, 2009

Young dragonfly, going to fly!

Dragonflies like to be around water because the kids are submariners. They can spend more than a year living in the mud at the bottom of your pond. They have voracious appetites, and will devour almost all the mosquito larvae. The larger nymphs will even eat tadpoles and (small) fish!

When he graduates, from the water to the air, to Flying School, he will climb up some convenient (you did plant some?) reeds. About a handspan up, into his place in the sun. There he will pop out of his baby clothes. His newly issued wings are folded up like a parachute. Now the terror of the skies is at his most vulnerable. Those fragile new wings must have body fluid pumped through the veins to unfold them. And when his wings are strong and able, he ... will ... fly!

“Put silver wings on my son’s chest…” Only this one has the savvy to wear his wings on his back, where they will be useful. When I grow up, I am going to fly like my Dad. When the Blue Emperor is in the air, all other aircraft are grounded. If they don’t obey instructions, they will be taken out. Large dragonflies see small dragonflies as Lunch, and Lunch knows it, and keeps under the radar.

We have so many different colours (blue, red, orange, brown, multicoloured) and sizes of dragonflies, and delicate little damselflies (iridescent sparklers). Above is perhaps a red veined dropwing? The Ungardener is fascinated, and reckons they need air traffic control.
If you can get near enough to watch a dragonfly nymph feeding, you will never forget it. Only saw it once, in Camps Bay, where we had a small pool on the patio. The nymph has mouthparts that shoot out, something between a set of lassoes, or boomerangs. They call it a labial mask. Here is a link to a drawing http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/18/24018-004-C8846E21.jpg Your eyes see it, while your brain is still stumbling along, thinking, what was that? What did I just see?
If you have roses, and a pond, take time out from smelling your roses - to observe the life and times of your dragonflies. If you, like me, are gardening for wildlife, your water "feature" will be a pond, with a muddy bottom, some plants, in the water, on the water, and growing out of the water. Filled with all the life nature can give you - no sterile, dead, chlorinated, sparkling clear water - except in your drinking glass. And while you glug that down, consider this, your cat or dog, would rather drink from your pond ...


  1. Cool pictures, Diana. I guess I have never seen young dragonflies!

  2. Very interesting, Diana! Thanks! Unfortunately, there are no many dragonflies in my garden.

  3. We have so many dragonflies it's amazing. I've never been able to photograph one well, but I suppose I am usually in the garden and busy, not being "patient" and waiting for that perfect photo-op!


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

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