This week our selected photographer – Sharon Patricia – gives us an intimate and crisp look at the complex beauty of dragonflies. Although dragonflies are commonly spotted throughout wetlands, it can be tough to get close enough to appreciate the fine details without the dragonfly flying away. Sharon’s photograph gives us an rare perspective at the elaborate patterns and delicate wings of the dragonfly.
This ‘Lady-Dragon’ was captured in mid-spawning as she focuses on laying her eggs in an area safe from predators. Dragonflies have been known to make ultimate sacrifices in order to protect and ensure the survival of their offspring. Some species lay their eggs underwater amidst vegetation roots making it tougher for predators to locate and access them. Unfortunately, it takes a great deal of strength for dragonflies to embark out of the water and if the dragonfly can’t get her wings to flap, then sadly she will remain in the water where she’ll drown. Luckily for our Lady-Dragon, she found a calm area with woody debris above water which will offer great protection for her eggs.
Dragonflies are emblems of healthy wetlands and ecosystems, as well as a common favourite insect for kids and adults alike! Not only are dragonflies beautiful to watch, but they keep pest populations (like mosquitoes) in check and have been known to eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day! Here are a few fascinating facts about dragonflies that I read off of the Smithsonian website:
1 ) Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve, some 300 million years ago.
2 ) Fossil dragonflies have been found with wingspans of up to two feet!
3 ) In their larval stage, which can last up to two years, dragonflies are aquatic and eat just about anything—tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, other insect larvae and even each other.
4 ) Nearly all of the dragonfly’s head is eye, so they have incredible vision that encompasses almost every angle except right behind them.
It’s amazing how life even on small scales can have such complex biology . Even though dragonflies are just ‘bugs’, they are still incredibly unique (insects are the most diverse animal group) and photos like this capture the mosaic of millions of years of evolution. Thank you to Sharon Patricia for this wonderful shot and showcasing one of our favourite wetland species! To view more of her skilled photography, click here! Our collection of BC wetlands photography has certainly been receiving many stunning and creative photos, if you would like to view more or to add your own please visit our Flickr page!