There are many myths and proverbs about this delicate insect. They exist all over the world and are arguably the true “mankind’s best friend”. They eat mosquito larvae and adults in huge quantities.
http://www.dragonfly-site.com (Paste this link into your browser for some fun information on those myths.)
The dragonfly spends most of its life as a nymph. They hatch from eggs in ponds and eat like crazy. These nymphs resemble underwater “wormy bugs”. A dragonfly can eat amounts equal to its own weight in 30 minutes. They simply eat anything that moves.
As beautiful and delicate as they are, these little “buggers” are fierce predators. Even as adults, few insects can evade them. I just read on an informational site that from fossil records there were some huge varieties “back in the day”. If their temperament and appetite corresponded with our dragonflies, and they lived today, our cats and small dogs might well be disappearing.
They are cousins of the tinier damselflies. Damselflies can easily be distinguished from dragonflies by the way they hold their wings along their “needle-like” bodies when at rest. They were referred to as “sewing needles” when I was a kid and we’d run from them in fear of our mouths being sewn shut!
I hadn’t realized that photographing Nature was an endurance sport until I chased these guys around to try for a capture. Next time I see either of the above insects, I’m going to say,”Thanks and keep up the mosquito dining!”
…and to mosquitoes, “Sucks to be you when dragonflies are in town!”