John T. Willis

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The dragonfly is an insect of the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or the infraorder Anisoptera. This unique insect has large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elogated body. The wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Even thought dragonflies have six legs like any other insect, they are not capable of walking.

Dragonflies are very valuable predators to eat mosquitoes, flies, bees, ants, and butterflies. They usually lives around lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, called "nymphs," are aquatic. The word "Anisoptera" comes from the Greek terms "an" meaning "not," "iso" meaning "equal," and "ptera" meaning "wings." Their hind wings are broader than their forewings.

Female dragonflies lay eggs in or near water, often on floating or emergent plants. When layings eggs, some species submerge themselves completely in order to lay their eggs on a good surface. Then eggs hatch into nymphs. Most of a dragonfly's life is spend in the nymph form, beneath the water's surface, using extendable jaws to catch other invertebrates or vertebrates such a tadpoles and fish. They breathed through gills in their rectum, and can rapidly propel themselves by suddently expelling water through the anus. Some nymphs hunt on land. The larval stage of large dragonflies may last as long as five years. In smaller species, this stage may last between two months and three years. When the larve is ready to metamorphose into an adult, it climbs up a reed or other emergent plant. Exposure to air causes the larva to begin breathing. The skin splits at a weak spot behind the head and the adult dragonfly crawls out of its old larval sking, pumps up its wings, anf flies off to feed on midges and flies. In flight, the adult dragonfly can propel itself in six direction--upward, downward, forward, back, and side to side. The adult stage of larger species of dragonfly can last as long as five or six months. Throughout the world, there are numerous varieties of dragonflies.

All of God's creatures have special uses in creation. Each creature is unique with its own set of size, color, food, flight, and function. Every Octover millions of dragonflies--mostly the widespread species known as the globe skimmer--begin to arrive in the Maldives, more than 300 miles southwest of India. By year's end the insects have gone, only to reappear in May. These dragonflies may a round trip of approximate 11,000 miles from India to East Africa via the Maldives. This is the longest trip of any insect on earth, putting dragonflies in the company of other great travelers of the animal world.

I hope YOU appreciate dragonflies. But much more important than this, I hope YOU appreciate and be thankful for and worship the CREATOR of the dragonfly and all of God's creatures.

Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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