To be completely honest, I’ve never really thought about where Dragonflies come from. But if I had thought about it, I probably would have said they hatched from eggs and then … I don’t know … grew up … in obscurity … somewhere … until they started flying around my yard? Like I say, it really isn’t something I’ve ever thought about.
The day after returning from Dublin we visited friends who live on a lake and were informed we were in for a treat. It was Dragonfly day! We had no idea what they were talking about, but they were right – we were definitely in for a treat.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Dragonfly life cycle (like me until recently) they begin as an egg (no surprise there) but then spend up to four years as a nymph, living in the water and looking nothing like a dragonfly. This is where it gets interesting. In the spring, when the water reaches the right temperature, all the mature nymphs emerge over a two-day period. They look like this. As I say, nothing at all like a dragonfly.
The nymphs come out of the water – thousands of them – find a suitable perch, and firmly attach themselves. And then, in something right out of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” the mature dragonfly begins to force its way out of the nymph’s back. In this picture you can see tendrils emerging as the molting process begins.
And then, defying the laws of physics, a much larger dragonfly emerges from the nymph.
Finally, the newly emerged dragonfly waits for its wings to unfold and dry.
And there you have it. Thousands of dragonflies were emerging, perched on blades of grass, on the trees, on the dock – everywhere. It was amazing.
Here are two additional pictures taken by “WhenJayJay” showing the dragonflies almost ready to fly.
Interestingly, later that day we were eating in restaurant in an old farm house and the window pane had what appeared to be a dragonfly wing fused into the glass.
What an amazing coincidence.