Friday, July 24, 2009

In Pursuit of Dragons

(click to enlarge)

I've seen many photos of dragonflies in blogland and have wished for ages I would run across one. Finally, this week on the walkway off my deck this little guy appeared. I took many pictures of him but was never really satisfied with any of them. This one is the best of the bunch. Boy are they flighty little guys! No matter how quietly I tried to sneak up on him and lower my camera he was always one step ahead of me. Why? It turns out a dragonfly's eyes have about 30,000 lenses and it can see all the way around it. Eyes in the back of his head so to speak. The little rascal always knew I was coming!

A few other facts I uncovered:

1. The oldest fossilized record of a dragonfly is from the Carboniferous Period, over 300 million years ago. It had a 2 1/2 foot wingspan, and currently there are dragonflies in Costa Rica that measure 7 1/2 inches across the wings. Can we just say this species is OLD!
2. A dragonfly can fly at speeds of up to 36 miles per hour. (Not all dragonflies are that fast – one was clocked at this speed in Australia.)
3. There are about 5,000 different species of dragonflies all over the world except in Antarctica. 450 of the species can be found in the United States and about 80 species in British Columbia.
4. From the time a dragonfly egg hatches, it can live anywhere from six months to six years, but only about two months as an actual dragonfly. Most of the time spent is as a nymph in the water before the dragonfly’s metamorphosis into a full grown dragonfly.

Finally, dragonflies are sometimes known as the devil's darning needles. An old myth was that dragonflies would seek out wicked children and sew their mouths together with their claspers while they slept. That's a scary story for little ones and come to think of it for dragon hunters too!
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32 comments:

Jientje said...

That's a great post, there is a lot of interesting information in there!
Dragonflies are such wonderful creatures, and now I know why they always get away so fast. Only one picture, that does not matter. You had fun, and the picture looks good!

RJ Flamingo said...

What a great shot! I know what you mean about trying to get a decent shot, only to have them see you coming and move on! Dragonflies are just cool! Glad you finally got your shot. :-)

DawnTreader said...

This specimen really does look extremely dragon-like! :)

I came upon a pair of dragonflies myself just recently, happening to have my camera with me. I agree they are not easy to "catch"... There are some pictures from that encounter at http://islandofvoices.blogspot.com/2009/07/dragonflies-in-courtship.html

and one more at
http://photosharingworld.blogspot.com/2009/07/what-are-you-staring-at.html

ramblingwoods said...

Oh..great shot Carletta..They are so hard to get a good shot of. I also learned more with the information you posted. Hopefully more people will be inspired to get out and look for these beautiful insects..I know I will as soon as it stops raining here...Michelle

Thom said...

What a great shot and the information is so wonderful. Thanks for giving me some ammo to make the kids behave LOL. Excellent as usual :)

Carver said...

I loved this post both for the wonderful photograph and also for the informative text. I have that type of dragonfly too and find them hard to shoot because they tend to land in mulch where they blend in.

MyMaracas said...

Great photo! I chased one all over the yard yesterday and never got an in-focus shot. Interesting information, too. I'm not sure I would enjoy meeting one of this guy's giant ancestors.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Carletta: I say the same thing about butterflies. Neat capture in your back yard. A great place to capture one.

Nicole said...

Boy, this is one awesome looking critter!
I don't think I've seen this species yet.

And funny, I posted one this morning too :D

Rose said...

I think you got a good capture, Carletta. Someone had a video of mosquitos feeding on Mosquitos, and it was amazing to watch. Then out at the strip pits we got to watching them one fall day...there were a zillion of them....and you could see them snatching mosquitos out of the air.

JunieRose2005 said...

Cool Dragon, Carletta!!

I didn't join in this one but I DO have a SWF up!


Junie

SquirrelQueen said...

Great information on dragonflies. That's a great photo,I'm glad I'm not the only one who's been chasing the little guys around. I finally got a few good shots this past week.

Denise said...

That's a really nice capture of the dragonfly Carletta, and excellent research also. Learned a few things I didn't know before. Have a great weekend.

Melli said...

Isn't that something? Well... if they always know your coming, you might as well sneak up on 'em head first then! Right? LOL! Hunting dragons is always one of my favorite topics -- and I think YOUR dragon is magnificent!

Janet, said...

I don't like dragonflies. I don't know why, but I think we used to call them snake doctors when I was growing up.

walk2write said...

When I was a kid and went fishing, the dragonflies would always land on the tip of the rod and rest for a while. They're shy but very curious about us. Or maybe it was just me. I was pretty goofy looking. Your post is very informative. Thanks for stopping by my site and commenting.

Thom said...

Aloha my friend. Had to come back...there's a little something for ya on my blog :) Aloha

Gattina said...

30.000 lenses ?? I am jalous ! what could I see around me !! the picture is very nice an clear.
Yes I met Jientje on thursday and we had a lot of fun together it was a real nice day !

RuneE said...

Congratulations! You have managed what I never could - get a photo of a Dragonfly. But I'll get on sooner or later :-)

And thank you for the info! I have learned something new. A day without new knowledge is a day wasted.

PS Thank you for the comment. They are very nice people and we spent most of the day together.

Neal said...

You done better than I've ever done. I've tried to get good pictures several times but never had much success. They would never sit still long enough for me.

Pat said...

Lots of interesting info on dragonflies! Can you imagine if they still were as big as they were back then at 2 1/2 feet? We'd have no trouble getting pictures of them! LOL! In fact, they'd probably be crashing into car windows and planes!

I've seen bright red, orange and neon blue ones at the pond across the way from us where we are currently staying. They are very quick!

Leedra said...

Great information. I love the dragonflies, and try to capture them as often as I can. I have not captured that "awesome" photo yet. Still trying.

ellievellie said...

I like it how transparent the wings are - that makes them look even more "dragonly". Great picture and interesting story!

Celeste said...

And those giant dragonflies of past ages used to hunt our ancestors too! Great photo, you're right they are tough to get close too.

Gallicissa said...

Congrats on your first dragon capture! I checked my copy of the "Dragonflies through binoculars - A field Guide to Dragonflies of North America" by Sydney W. Dunkle. It appears to me like a young male, Common Whitetail Libellula lydia. Happy dragon hunting!

Rambling Woods said...

I wanted to let you know that I was looking for a dragonfly that I took a photo of and came across this one. Now can I find it..it was a skimmer I think and I will look and post back when I find it...Michelle

Tranquility said...

What a strange looking dragonfly. I've never seen this kind. I thought his wings were tattered until I looked closer and realized it was his coloring.

We live next to the lake and at this time of the year, the dragonflies fill the skies - thousands of them in the evenings - it is so neat to watch. I think they're eating the mosquitoes, which makes them very good little creatures in my mind!

Raven said...

They really are hard to photograph, aren't they? Thanks for all the interesting information.

Stephany said...

Great shot, Carletta! You can see each of the segments and the veins in the wings.

George said...

Thanks for the great picture and all the interesting information about dragonflies. I have yet to capture a dragonfly with my camera.

Lynne said...

TERRIFIC capture and that must have been fulfilling to. Enjoyed the detailed background write up, too.
I'm glad you remembered to link to Rambling Woods' Nature Notes. I'm back in blogland now, but I keep forgetting to do that. (I've now made a sign by my desk).

becky aka theRAV said...

I have managed to capture dragonflies to date. Each one has been an improvement of the 1st one. I was recently told they bring inspiration. I can only hope! What you wrote was interesting. Thanks for posting it.