Friday, July 24, 2009
In Pursuit of Dragons
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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