How many dragonflies do you think you have seen this summer?
|Walter Sanford’s Photoblog|
Dragonflies are a popular insect in the Biosphere Reserve due to their vibrant colours and ability to eat insects like mosquitos! Dragonflies are strong, agile fliers and have excellent eyesight, but did you know that they actually start out their lives in the water?
The life cycle of a dragonfly has three parts:
1) Starting out as an egg,
2) Living in the water as a nymph,
3) Emerging from the water to live as an adult dragonfly!
While in the water, the nymph lives in the soft sediment at the bottom of the lake. They will eat other larvae and even some worms! Dragonflies spend the majority of their lives in this stage…up for 4 YEARS! Once the nymph is big and strong enough to venture onto land, crawl out of the water very slowly – so that its respiration or ‘breathing’ can adapt to the air.
Eventually it will anchor itself on a reed, tree trunk, or even the side of a dock! The dragonfly will leave an exoskeleton (called an exuvia) behind and emerge out of it ready to fly, this process takes up to an HOUR in length as the dragonfly has to stretch its four wings and let them dry.
If you are around water and REALLY lucky, you might catch one in action!
There are many types of dragonflies within the Biosphere Reserve, but some specific species include the Green Darner, the Dragonhunter, and the Common Baskettail (pictured below). Dragonflies eat a lot once they become adults. Dragonflies eat other small insects like moths, mosquitos, damselflies, and midges. Typically a dragonfly will discard the wings of its prey before eating it.
Dragonflies do not have a stinger. If you are lucky enough to have one land on you simply be gentle and never try to trap it because you might injure its wings.
Three cheers for buggy eyes and the sweet sunrise!