Posted by on April 19, 2009 at 9:22 am.

Red Dragonfly

I love dragonflies.  I once saw one take down a fly that was almost as big as it was.  I love watching them.  They are like little helicopters in their movements.

This one was a regular in our back yard a couple of years ago.  As near as I can tell, it is some sort of skimmer – red skimmer, flame skimmer, neon skimmer.  If there are any entomologists here, please help me to identify him.  We get lots of little green and blue damselflies, but this is the one and only large red dragonfly we have had in our backyard.  I’m hoping one will return this year.

Did you know that fossil records show that dragonflies have been around since prehistoric times?  But back then they were huge!  Much bigger than this guy.  Here are a few more fun facts about dragonflies.

  • Dragonfly eyes contain up to 30,000 individual lenses.
  • They have two sets of wings. They don’t have to beat their wings in unison like other insects do. Their front wings can be going up while their backs ones are going down.
  • Dragonfly nymphs (the first stage after hatching) live in the water for about a year.
  • While underwater they eat mosquito nymphs, tiny fish, and pollywogs. When they have matured to airborne insects, they catch mosquitoes and gnats in mid-air before devouring them.
  • After leaving the water and becoming flying insects, they only live for about a month.
  • Their natural predators are birds.

Dragonflies are definitely worth encouraging in your garden!  The biggest thing you can do to encourage dragonflies to your yard is to stop using pesticides.  Stop poisoning them and their food and let them help you out with the pests in your garden.  They will be much more specific in their bug killing efforts than any pesticide ever could.


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