Sunday, August 19, 2007

Love is in the Air

This was not the easiest heart to catch from a floating inner tube with a pocket digital camera. It was easier catching my husband 35 years ago. Today, we celebrate our 35th anniversary and we are still enjoying blue skies!

So, what are these contortionist doing making hearts in the blue sky? It is a mating pair of damselflies. They can fly around like this too. Wouldn't that be fun....add a little spice to a relationship?

Do you know the difference between a damselfly and a dragonfly? They both are aquatic insects, with most of the 407 species in North America laying eggs and passing the larval stage in the water. The adults are often brightly colored, which is uncommon among aquatic insects. The adults can catch and eat their prey while flying around, and happily their most common food source are mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting flies.
The larvae look entirely different than the adults, kind of like a caterpillar to a butterfly. I haven't taken any photos of the larvae, even though I often find them in the water gardens. The illustration of the larvae is from A Guide to Commom Freshwater Invertebrates of North America by J. Reese Voshell.
The easiest way to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly is to notice how they rest. The damselfly holds its wings together extended above the body and the dragonfly outstretches its wings from the side of the body. In flight, the damselfly is delicate and a more feeble flier. The dragonfly is bulkier and flies more boldly. They are both beautiful and will not hurt you.
This summer, while you visit a lake, pond, river, or water garden, be prepared if one of these beneficial insects lands on you, even consider keeping a magnifying glass close by. Hold still, look at its huge eyes with 10,000 facets, observe its lacy wings, and admire its colors. Maybe it will even turn it's head 360 degrees. Bet that's a lot further than any human has ever turned its head for you, even with love in the air!

1 comment:

Livia said...

verrry interesting. I've never seen them do that!