Saturday, May 30, 2009

What's So Special About The Dragonfly?

Wings 2
Originally uploaded by boondockma
This is for SonyaAnn's son, as well as anyone else who appreciates the uniquely beautiful being we call 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!
Dragonfly Profiled
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 :)


Stuff could always be worse said...

Glad to learn so much about the dragonflies. I did not know all that.

bev said...

Dragonflies are one of my favorites. Right up there with lady bugs and orb weaver spiders. Thanks for all the great information and pics.

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

Thank you both for your comments!

Kim, Dragonfly's really are fascinating insects. It just fills me with awe whenever I see one and consider they've been around for so long.

Bev, ladybugs, yes. Such gentle little ladies! Orb Weaver spiders...Hmmm... I gotta admit, spiders aren't at the top of my favorite things list! LOL I've never heard of the orb weaver though. I'll have to research that one ;-)

A.Marie said...

I have to confess...I have never, ever liked dragonflies. They just creep me out, for some reason. I'm not a bug person, but I can usually tolerate them...usually...that is, except for nasty spiders and dragonflies. This article was very well written, though. I learned alot about them, but....

I do like ladybugs, though. Just not the ladybug-wannabees asian beetles. Yuck!

Kim said... much of that did you know, and how much did Nathan tell you??? ;> Kidding..great post, and VERY informative! The whole time I was reading I was retelling to Nick!

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

A.Marie, maybe I should've mentioned they eat spiders too? ;-)

Re the wannabe lady bugs, I don't like them either. It was thanks to one of those little buggers that I was afraid of Ladybugs for a long time. I picked one up when I was a youngster and the little critter bit me! I learned the differnce real quick after that!

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

LOL Kimmi! Actually, all things considered it's a fair question! ;-) This time however, I get to take credit, as we did a lesson on Dragonflys a few years ago, so for once, I got to teach Nathan rather than the other way around! Hehe.

Sigrun said...

I LOVE dragonflies. My favorite movie is called "Dragonfly". I'm so glad I visited My Little Room blog so I could find your blog.

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

Hi Sigrun! Thank you so much for stopping by, and for leaving such a nice comment! I'll have to do a search and see what "Dragonfly" is all about!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the article for DJ. This is one of the sweetest and most kind things ever. I'm grateful.
Thank you for writing an article for me. I really like the article because dragonflies are one of my favorite insects. And I thought that the pictures were really cool. It's nice that you thought about me. I hope that you have a nice summer.

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

SonyaAnn and DJ, Thank you both for a really great comment!

DJ, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I thought of you as soon as I saw that dragonfly, grabbed my camera and ran outside to chase it down.
I hope you have a great summer too!

toomanyhats said...

Well I guess our cat must be fast...because she jumps up, catches them...and yes, eats them. I've always thought dragon flies were fascinating in a creepy sort of way. Great post

Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

Hi Carol! Thanks for the comment!

Our cats like Dragonflies too. Ven doesn't tend to chase after flying insects so much any more. She did until she caught a bee and tried eating it one time. Poor cat had to learn the hard way!

Dan River Mama said...

Dropping by from Sonya Ann's blog. I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the dragonfly, as an adult. But, as a little kid, they skeered the pants off me! One I leanred that they wouldn't bie or sting, I started to like them better...