• @PapilionemK
  • @PapilionemK
  • @PapilionemK

Have you ever wondered whether dragonflies are migratory insects or permanent residents?

Because they suddenly appear when the winter finally retreats, many people think they arrive in a certain season, such as spring, summer, or autumn depending on the altitude of the location and the endemic species.

In my region, they start appearing in spring, flying everywhere in summer, and finally start disappearing in late autumn.

The fact is that dragonflies are our all-season neighbors, except a few species.

Most of the time, they live under the water-ponds, lakes, or rivers-in the form of nymphs.

We only see their winged-form for a short period. Generally, temperate-zone dragonflies live up to 1 year, spending as nymphs under the water for about 11 months, which means they enjoy flying stage only for a month during their whole lifetime, only if they are not eaten by many predators including birds.

I've been attracted to these fashionable air-borne hunters during this summer.

They have a splendid colored-body, muscular chest (thorax) that controls powerful wing movements, and the wings that give them the status of free-folks.

It's nice to see the venation in their wings. The complicated pattern on their wings are the networks of veins where hemolymph, equivalent of blood in mammals, is pumped through.

The reason that the veins form such an intricate and complicated network is to support thin membraneous wings. The vein walls comprise of 6 different cuticle layers under 1 epidermal layer. The images taken with electron microscopy included in the article below show all the details of the vein:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580113/

The extreme details at that magnification level are not esthetically appealing but interesting. 😅

Another wonderful thing about their wing anatomy is that the dark spot at wingtips (not always black though... some species have white patches). It is called stigma, which is a blood-filled segment that gives more weight so that an individual wing would not be vibrated at high speed.

How many wonderful secrets they have!

I missed watching dragonfly nymphs this summer but I may try to find them in the next spring.

Anyway, dragonflying and birding can be easily combined! :)

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