Photo Credit: Neahga Leonard
Dragonflies (Odonata) are winged insects with six legs but we remember their two pairs of wings most with their rapid beat and the elaborate venation. Their aquatic larvae (nymphs) develop from eggs deposited upon floating aquatic vegetation or in the water. These larvae actually spend as much as two to five years below water feeding upon mosquito larvae and even tiny tadpoles or fish. They eventually climb out of the water and shed their skin to become an adult. As an adult they live a year unless migrating to climates that do not freeze. While migrating, some dragonflies travel anywhere from a few miles to a hundred miles a day. They can only fly in warm temperatures, coming to rest when temperatures drop, even when it becomes cloudy. They resemble damselflies. But, at rest, dragonflies extend their wings laterally (90 degress away from their bodies) while damselflies hold their wings close to their bodies.