Friday, June 11, 2010

Insect Helicopters

Dragonflies seem to be everywhere I go right now. I found a couple of common whitetail dragonflies hovering over the water when I got to the back of the nature park I was visiting. The one at the top is a male. The one at the bottom is a female. The thing I found odd was their interaction.

When I first got there I actually saw two males flying around, but the one in the picture chased the other one away. I thought at the time that the males and the female were really different kinds of dragonflies, but as I explained yesterday, I was able to find out their true identities when I got home.

Anyway, when I got there I saw the female first. The males showed up soon after. If you click to expand the picture above, you can see that the male is much bigger than the female. Maybe kind of odd for the insect world. The males seemed to be harassing the female, because they looked as if they were trying to dive bomb her. The female though seemed to be very interested in this one spot. After the second male left, the first one hovered close by the female as if he was watching her.

You can see how long they hovered in the same spot. I was able to get a few closer shots of them hovering there in the air. Above is the male flying over the water. He's a little on the blurry side for two different reasons. First of all, his white body glared too brightly for the camera to pick it up correctly with the dark water background. And secondly, beating wings are always difficult to get in just the right position.

This is a little more like it! I have several shots of the female in this same place. She was hovering here for quite a few minutes, so it was easy to get some good pictures. This is one of the best. Her wings are in a good position, and you can see her body easily because it is darker than the male's.

Dragonflies look scary sometimes because of their large size, but they're actually our friends. They eat harmful insects, like mosquitoes, and they don't sting. They might bite though, if you try to harm them. So treat these gentle creatures as your friends.

I always thought dragonflies looked like insect helicopters. Notice that the beat of this female's wings are so powerful that they're creating a ripple on the surface of the water. These are some very powerful creatures of the insect kingdom to be able to do something like this. If you ever watch a helicopter over the water it looks very similar. Little helicopters.

Nature Center Magazine has a new Free Wallpaper up today. Go there to find out who was kind enough to contribute this gift for all of us.

13 comments:

  1. I love dragonflies! They are flitting all over the place around here right now too. Let's hear it for the good guys - WooHoo!

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  2. Fabulous photos of them Ratty! Thanks so much for all the information on them too!

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  3. Dragons fly. They were once a dragon.

    But now they are a helicopter.

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  4. You are taking part in a hobby called Oding, taken from their species name Odonata.Just like birding many people like to follow these neat little creatures.

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  5. I will never be able to capture that dragonfly in action like this..They are too fast for my camera..

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  6. oh, i have never been lucky yet to capture a dragonfly, hope to be able to soon :)

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  7. Very amazing insect and she does resemble a helicopter. Great shots.

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  8. I am seeing more and more everyday out in the gardens. They really do resemble helicopters and I never even though of it until you mentioned it. Fantastic shots.

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  9. we have some lovely coloured dragonflies that are always around the canal near me...however beautiful they are they do have a nasty stinger that they aren't afraid to use...I love to sit quietly on the banks and wait for them to land on me ....maybe one of these days I will have the camera ready!!

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  10. I can't help it, but I keep looking at these dragonflies and thinking that they would make great cat toys!

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  12. Spring/summer is such a great time to catch all of this crazy nature activity. However, the only insects I've ever been able to capture with my camera were squashed ones unfortunately. Great shots once again!

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  13. Very, very good pictures! You're obviously a match for your equipment.

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