Dragons and Damsels
One of the most noted insects of summer are the dragonflies. Dozens are sometimes seen on the leeward side of homes on a mid-summer evening, gleening mosquitos and other small insects from the air, and consuming them in mid-flight. Not so often noticed are their close relatives the damselflies. Damselflies stay closer to ponds and streams, and sometimes find themselves prey of dragonflies. Males of most species are territorial, and will defend breeding areas from rivals, allowing only the females within. Their eggs are laid in the water or some other wet substrate depending on the species, and have an aquatic larval stage. They feed many a fish and frog, and in turn eat many other aquatic insects and even small fish. After months or years in the water the larvae will crawl out, usually at night, shed its exoskeleton, and grow two sets of wings; they take flight the ensuing morning.
Both groups are primitive insects that came into being 100 million years before the dinosaurs, and have persisted almost unchanged to the present. Fossil dragonflies have been discovered with wing-spans of more than two feet. Thankfully, today, the largest is a mere three inches in length. They have been successful, to say the least, occupying the entire terrestrial world which includes several hundred species.
To read more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition https://etypeservices.com/Valentine%20Midland%20NewsID426/