This is a Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens, tentative id) that graced my backyard last evening.
Up here in Minnesota, the last days of summer are already beginning to look like early fall. The recent dry weather has stressed many of the water hungry plants like the Hosta and the leaves of all the plants and trees have that end-of-the-season look, once plump, shiny green leaves are now thin, leathery, and faded.
It is still a beautiful time. A golden sun still lords it over a multi-hued earth.
Dragonflies prowl the lowest levels of the air, adding their brilliant color to the moment. Their crystalline wings, sleek missile bodies and long delicate legs hide the fact that they are finely tuned predators.
- Dragonflies have been around for about 300 million years. Some Dragonfly fossils have wingspans of over 2 feet. Today’s giants only get to about 7 inches.
- Before becoming a dragonfly, the larvae spend a year living in the water.
- They have two sets of wings and each wing can operate independently of the others. This allows the little guy to fly backward, do loop the loops, and turn on a dime. Just the ability that an aerial hunter needs.
Another thing I like about dragonflies are their names: Wandering Glider (above), Smokey Shadowdragon, Stream Cruiser, Dragonhunter, Elfin Skimmer, Blue Dasher, and Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk (below). Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum, tentative id).
It’s amazing what I find in my urban backyard.
A great source of info is found at the USGS website under Dragonflies and Damselflies.