Let There Be…Dragonflies!

Most people know I swim every day and there are lots of insects that keep me company. The pesky ones like dive-bombing flies and mosquitoes I gladly swat, but there are also different species of beetles, ants, some spiders (which are not insects), various other flies, most of which I scoop out and deposit on the pool deck to be washed away into the dirt.

My favorite buddies, however, are the dragonflies. These magical creatures come in a wide variety of iridescent colors with gossamer wings. They alight for a fraction of a second on the pool surface to get water, then flit off. Occasionally they hover in front of my face, and one day a brilliant turquoise specimen landed on my visor and sat there for a while, to the delight of my daughter.

Occasionally they get trapped in the water and end up upside down, fluttering helplessly. It is my honor to pick them up on my palm, flip them over and watch them fly away.

Blue Dasher dragonfly

Common Green Darner dragonfly

Eastern Pond Hawk dragonfly, male

Eastern Pond Hawk dragonfly, female

Ebony Jewel Wing dragonfly

Widow Skimmer dragonfly

Here are some dragonfly facts from the Smithsonian:

1. Long before the dinosaurs walked the Earth, dragonflies took to the air. Griffenflies, the gigantic precursor of present day dragonflies, had a wing tip to wing tip span of 28 inches, and took flight in the Carboniferous period, 300 million years ago.

Woman holding a life-size model of a Griffenfly, from Don Chure’s Land of the Dead

2. There are 5,000 + species of dragonflies.

3. In their larval stage, which can last up to two years, dragonflies are aquatic and eat just about anything—tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, other insect larvae and even each other.

4. Dragonflies are expert fliers. They can fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter and even mate mid-air. If they can’t fly, they’ll starve because they only eat prey they catch while flying.

5. Dragonflies catch their insect prey by grabbing it with their feet.

6. Nearly all of the dragonfly’s head is eye, so they have incredible vision that encompasses almost every angle except right behind them.

6. Dragonflies, which eat insects as adults, are a great control on the mosquito population. A single dragonfly can eat 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day.

Next time you see a dragonfly, say hi for me!



21 thoughts on “Let There Be…Dragonflies!”

  1. One of the joys of our pond are the many dragonflies that use it to breed. Dad would spend hour and hour walking the New Forest a national park where we lived and liked nothing better than to watch a nymph crawl up a stem or see the dragonfly itself emerge and Dry its wings. Thanks for the memory moment

  2. As you know, I love dragonflies. Several of our species have nymph phases that last several years, especially the bigger ones. Your Ebony Jewel Wing dragonfly is very like our Banded Demoiselle, whose black on the wings is rather like a large thumb print in the middle, with clear either side (hence the ‘banded’ effect).

  3. We have a pool in our back yard and I always enjoy visits from the dragon flies. I haven’t seen any yet this year, but our warm weather is only now really kicking into gear. This was a fun and informative post, Noelle!

  4. Dragonflies will be hatching soon here in central Maine. I love to watch them soar and hover around the garden. Thanks for sharing the griffenfly photo and history, Noelle. Amazing! <3 xo

  5. Noelle, I knew there was a reason I love dragonflies….the only bug I am not afraid of and actually love! That was such a charming story about the turquoise one landing on your visor; the info was so interesting, and photos amazing. Thank you! (By the way, I left a review for you on Amazon, loved Death in a Red Canvas Chair…..kudos!)

  6. Here is the review I left:
    Customer Review
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Action packed, page turner!
    By Emily Gmitter on June 12, 2018
    Format: Kindle Edition
    Verified Purchase
    Rhe Brewster loves to eat….and to sleuth. And she does both well and often in this well written murder mystery. The author is knowledgeable about the location of the story (a coastal town in Maine, where she grew up) and the medical field (impressive bio!) and her writing is infused with her expertise, giving the entire story authenticity. She weaves the mystery in a skilled way and you may find yourself thinking you know who the murderer is, just to change your mind a chapter or two later. Action packed, credible dialogue, real-life problems in Rhe’s relationship with her husband. A lot going on here but it all comes together seamlessly; a page turner!

    1. Emily, thank you SO much. I’m delighted you enjoyed the book and hope you will read the others to catch up with Rhe. Would you mind if I posted your review on this blog?

      1. Emily Gmitter

        Not at all, Noelle! I really enjoyed your work and learning more about you, the fact you hail from my neck of the woods, and that we were both in the medical field. I loved the story and your writing style, so overall, I consider that I’ve discovered a gem!

      1. Was posted on Amazon, but now I’m thinking you meant Goodreads…?….and so I just put it up there also. Happy to do so!

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