Saturday, May 30, 2009
What's So Special About The Dragonfly?
So, just what is it about the dragonfly that inspires awe in so many?
Perhaps it is the wings, which are almost web like, yet in many species somehow manage such a colorful state. Or maybe it is their long bodies, trailing behind them, with such a variety of colorful markings.
Then again, it could be their remarkable abilities of flight! With two sets of wings which they can work together in one direction,amazingly moving in most any direction they choose, forward, backwards, up, down, around..... or they can choose to hover by instructing the two sets of wings to move in opposite directions at the same time. It's no wonder man has chosen to study and emulate the dragonfly in our own flying machines!
As well as it's ability to maneuver in seemingly limitless flight patterns, the dragon fly is fast! It has been estimated to fly anywhere from 30 to 60 MPH. So, if you spot a dragonfly outside your car window, and you manage to outrun it, you might want to check your speed... Not only are they fast, but they really get around!. They have been known to fly a full hundred miles in one day!
The Dragonfly has been around for a very long time.The current estimate of it's existence goes back as far as 300 million years! That means the Dragonfly was buzzing around with the dinosaurs!
The largest recorded wingspan of the dragon fly is from a fossil. The wingspan of that particular fossilized beauty was a full 30 inches. That's 2 and 1/2 feet! Fast forwarding to current times, the largest known Dragonfly's wingspan measures 7 and 1/2 inches. Still pretty impressive if you ask me! That particular species is found in Costa Rica.
If you include the Damselfly in the countdown, there are just about 5,000 different species in the world today. Most of that population resides in tropical areas, although you can find them most anywhere, with the exception of Antarctica. There are approximately, 450 species known to live in the United States, which makes for some pretty good photo ops for us!
The Dragonfly's diet consists of smaller insects, including that pesky mosquito, as well as gnats, ants and termites, so they're handy fellows to have around!
As we have personally observed here on our property, Dragonfly's mate in flight. It is truly an amazing sight to see! I'm keeping fingers crossed that we'll have the fortune of observing this again, hopefully when I have my camera handy ;-)
With eyes containing a full 30,000 lenses, the Dragonfly has some pretty amazing visual capabilities. For that reason, I'm rather surprised at the photo opportunities it allows. Perhaps they somehow know, and are just gracious enough to pose long enough for amateures like me to capture their images on "film".
As always, clicking on the photos will take you to full size images :)