Sunday, September 7, 2008

wiggly, black things

I have a large bowl filled with water that I inserted into the ground for the dragonflies. There are dragonflies the size of small horses here in Texas and they come in every color imaginable and we have a good-sized herd of them around our house. I noticed that the bowl of water had some mosquito babies in it, but I also noticed something darker, so I looked it up on the internet. The darker creatures resemble tiny tadpoles, but the swirl around and fall to the bottom like mosquitos when you touch the water. These smaller, darker creatures are dragonfly babies. I found this information on

This site also has pictures of the mysterious spiders that ate the frog and toad tadpoles. These are called nymphs, and they are similar to tadpoles, but they are dragonflies. They climb out of the pond when they are ready to hatch and the dragonfly climbs out of the spider-like body. Larger species of dragonflies have nymphs that eat tadpoles, so these must have been of a larger species. They generally stay in the pond for a year as they grow and would have most likely eaten the next batch of tadpoles, as well as each other. Dragonflies are so important, though, because they also eat mosquitos and flies.

There was a large, black dragonfly on the back porch yesterday with white stripes on its wings. I believe it was a Common Skimmer. It was circling around me as I tried to work, buzzing me on occassion as it drew closer and closer. I finally held very still, waiting to see if it would land on my head, and it appeared to be preparing to do so, but the phone rang so I ran inside. Dragonflies do bite, and the bigger the dragonfly, the bigger the bite. They can be aggressive with each other, particularly during mating, and they are aggressive with other dragonflies, often attacking and eating smaller dragonflies, but they are not particularly aggressive toward humans. Generally, they bite only if they feel threatened and cannot even break the skin.

I have learned that some varieties of dragonflies are endangered species. I now have a turtle pond and a frog pond. It looks like we'll be building a dragonfly pond, as well since the spring-fed creek on our property has dried up due to the drought. I will leave the wiggly black things in the reflecting bowl and give them a chance to survive until I can build them a pond of their own.

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