I understand that Dragonflies were among the first winged insects to evolve some 300 million years ago. These dragonflies that we see around now have wingspans of only two to five inches and are no comparison to the fossil dragonflies with wingspans up to two feet! Here are some more interesting facts about dragonflies along with the pictures of these friends from my garden- Dragonflies don’t sting or bite; they don’t carry diseases or germs. They are colorful and have amazing ways of flying. The flying skills of the dragonflies have inspired scientists and engineers to make flying robots, drones and helicopters. They need water bodies to complete their life cycle. The larvae are aquatic and stay in water for one or two years! But the adult stage lasts only for a few months. Dragonflies are natural pest control devices, so to say. A dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day. They catch the prey while in flight. Watching dragonflies, similar to birding, is called ‘oding’ which comes from the order ‘Odonata’ to which they belong. According to some folklore, seeing swarms of dragonflies signifies impending rain. For some cultures, dragonflies represent good luck and prosperity, especially when it lands on one’s head 🙂
This is my third post of Dragonflies. I have two types of dragonflies here, from my garden! Friends? Oh yes…they are predators of other flies that are pests.
The common picture wing (Rhyothemis variegata) or variegated flutterer, is a species of dragonfly with colorful wings tinted with pale yellow. There are a few black spots and patches, which are more pronounced in females than in males. These are called as “Onathumpi”, in my native language.
Orange-winged dropwing, alias Scarlet rock glider (Trithemis kirbyi) is a scarlet dragonfly with a broad reddish amber patch on the base of transparent wings. The females differ being duller.
Most probably these dragonflies are visitors to my garden, knowing their natural habitats which are wetlands.
Another misnomer, denoting these delicate flies. Dragonflies belong to the order Odonata. Fossil records suggest that they inhabited earth about 325 million years ago!
These predators are migratory in nature; powerful and agile fliers, capable of migrating across oceans, moving in any direction. It is an interesting observation that during monsoon, they appear in large groups and fly at a lower level before the rains.
They need water bodies to complete life cycle and loss of wetland habitats is threatening dragonfly populations around the world.
Wandering glider (Pantala flavescens) is the most common dragonfly across the globe. All pictures are captured in the backyard of my home.