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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dragonflies and Damselflies

I've become fascinated with dragonflies and damselflies recently, especially since I've learned that a large part of their diet consists of mosquitoes. Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine.

As for damselflies...I have a confession to make. Until recently, I thought a damselfly was simply a female dragonfly. Imagine my embarrassment when I learned that they are actually just a different type of dragonfly. (That red glow you see is emanating from my face.)

The most easily observed differences between the two are that damselflies generally hold their wings together, along and parallel to the body, when at rest. Also, damselflies are usually smaller than dragonflies and weaker fliers in comparison; and their eyes are further apart than the eyes of a dragonfly.

So here are a few photos from recent visits to Ouabache State Park.
 
I think the Widow Skimmer Dragonfly is especially beautiful, and there were several of them flying around on this particular day.

IMG_0876_Widow_Skimmer_Dragonfly_at_Ouabache
Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

IMG_0875_Widow_Skimmer_Dragonfly_at_Ouabache
Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

IMG_0787_Dragonfly_at_Ouabache
This is a dragonfly, but I don't know what kind.
 
(Thanks to Steve, at Out on the Prairie, for identifying the above dragonfly as a female Common Whitetail.)
 
IMG_0790_Damselfly_at_Ouabache
I have no ID for this damselfly, either.

IMG_0897_Turquoise_Bluet_Damselfly_at_Ouabache
I believe this is a Turquoise Bluet Damselfly

IMG_0896_Turquoise_Bluet_Damselfly_at_Ouabache
This is the same Turquoise Bluet Damselfly performing some sort of contortion exercise.

In researching dragonflies for this post, I learned that adult dragonflies live only about two months. They live most of their lives as nymphs and can take up to four years in this stage before developing into dragonflies.
 
If you'd like more information, click here to go to a site which further explains the life cycle of a dragonfly.


15 comments:

  1. I have a good ID book by Stokes that is very useful and fun to learn the names. Your 2nd dragonfly is a Common whitetail female.

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  2. Hi Linda Great shots but I do not know any names of them. Hope someone else does as this is how we can all learn!

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  3. i have found lately that there are more dragonflies around more often lately. i wonder why? they love to be around when i am working outdoors & will investigate all that i am doing. so fun. such beautiful creatures.

    we also have very curious bees. enjoy your week. ( :

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  4. Great photos! I've always loved seeing dragonflies, but I had never really investigated their life cycle, nor had any idea that they eat mosquitoes.
    I. LOVE. THAT. Have a great week.

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  5. we keep a lot of them here throughout the summer because of the pond. i do like the idea of them eating skeeters! plus, i love seeing them flit about.

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  6. i bet our fish just LOVE having those nymphs around, too! :)

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  7. Thanks for explaining the differences between these two insects. Now I need to find a pond and study these guys up close.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your fascination with dragonflies and damselflies with us. Your photos are wonderful. Your face didn't need to glow red -- I didn't realize that damselflies were a variety of dragonfly either.

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  9. Beautiful Dragonfly photos! That Widow Skimmer is gorgeous!

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  10. Gorgeous images. Now I really want to get out there and look for some photo opportunities.

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  11. Lovely images!! How nice they paused and posed for you. I find them to be such busy little creatures!

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  12. Their wings are beautiful...glad to hear they eat mosquito. :)

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  13. Great captures, Linda! The first and last one look like they were kissing the flower. :)

    The structure and colour scheme of the Widow Skimmer Dragonfly are beautiful, I could look at them for quite a long time actually...

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  14. Don't feel bad about not knowing the difference. I had never even heard of damselflies until not very long ago. I just assumed they were all different kinds of dragonflies.

    I'm going to give you a link to a post I did a few years back about a dragonfly.. that's when I first leaned about the nymph stage. I don't think you were reading my blog back then and I do think you'll enjoy it.

    http://thesmittenimage.blogspot.ca/2010/04/dragonfly-wings-revisited.html

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