I was just chatting about dragonflies with a friend. Of course the synchronicity of seeing this post a few minutes later makes it my reblog of the day. Better yet, I'll surprise her with it on Facebook so we both know who it reminds us of instantly!
An article in The New Yorker made me realize how little I know about dragonflies."The dragonfly is an exceptionally beautiful insect and a fierce carnivore." (Who knew?) "It has four wings that beat independently." (That sounds tricky!) "This gives it an ability to maneuver in the air with superb dexterity. A dragonfly can put on a burst of speed, stop on a dime, hover, fly backward, and switch direction in a flash. This is a hunting behavior known as hawking." (Dragonflies are predators and they hawk. Fascinating.) "Dragonflies kill their prey in the air and eat it on the wing. (To go, as it were.) They feed on aerial plankton, which consists of any sort of small living thing that happens to be aloft -- mosquitoes, midges, moths, flies, ballooning spiders. (Spiders do not hawk. They balloon.)The article goes on to talk about the migration habits of dragonflies. At the end of summer, some species will travel from Canada to Mexico, covering as much as fifty miles a day. "They travel on sunny days, just after a cold front has come through, riding on north winds." Swarms are sometimes seen along the Atlantic Coast, though only rarely in New York City itself. (Maybe aerial plankton is scarce in New York.)The next time I see a dragonfly I will pay it closer attention. A "fierce predator" deserves respect, no matter how small the prey.Preston, Richard. "Gone South: Flight of the Dragonflies." The New Yorker: Dec. 3, 2012. pp. 40, 42.
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