We recently moved to a lakeside home, where there is an abundance of dragonflies. They are interesting to watch and walk with but in doing so, I realized (after speaking with my brilliant husband) that I had forgotten much about these amazing creatures.
So guess what I have been studying? Yep – Odonata, Anisoptera – the dragonfly.
So today’s blog can be whatever you choose it to be. An animal planet type lesson and appreciation for the dragonfly; or a lesson with human and personal applications for your own insight and growth; and maybe even a place to glean some spiritual insight with applications for you spiritually.
So, here goes, take what you will from the amazing dragonfly.
There are more than 5,000 species of dragonflies and their name is taken from the Greek which means, “toothed one”, because of their serrated teeth. They go through a three stage development called “incomplete metamorphosis” which includes: egg, larva (nymph) and adult.
Most dragonflies live near fresh water; it can be flowing water, standing water, running water, still water, or temporary pools of water. There is a species that can even live on or near salt water.
But check out these remarkable factoids:
- they are expert fliers: up and down, hover, & even mate midair
- they capture and eat their prey from the air, with their feet with 90-95% accuracy
- if they cant fly, they will die, starve (because they ONLY eat what they catch in flight)
- they eat 30-100 mosquitos per day
- they have 6 directional flying, 4 styles of flight, many flying modes, accelerate from 4G-9G in sharp turns and have 4 ways of generating lift
- WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN INSECT, NOT AN AIRPLANE!!!!
- their flight inspires engineers (duh)
- nearly their whole head is eye which gives them vision that sees nearly 360 degrees, except directly behind them
- their eyes have 24,000 ommatidia (those compound eye sections)
- they are migratory insects ranging from traveling every third day (NJ Green Darner) to 11,000 miles across the Indian Ocean (Globe Skinner)
- they spend 1-5 years in their nymph stage, living totally underwater (this is where they spend the majority of their life – underwater)
- in this stage they will molt 6-15 times, and eat everything with a hinged mandible, they even eat their own
- in the water they breathe through gills in their rectum (yep, crazy!)
- they propel themselves through the water by expelling water through their anus (yep, again crazy)
- when it emerges from the nymph stage, it stops eating and crawls from the water on a reed where the exoskeleton cracks open and releases the abdomen and wings, which will dry and harden over several hours
- emerging is the adult dragonfly, which is learning to breathe air and is expanding its body to its full extent
- as an adult, it will live a few months up to a year
In the Japanese culture dragonflies represent courage, strength and happiness. However in European folklore they have a more sinister reputation.
We can see that the dragonfly is a design marvel intended to live in two different worlds, with crazy, powerful and amazing abilities in each. We can see its incomplete metamorphosis being completely perfect for its design and purpose.
We can see the dark deluge in which it spends most of its time is not the end of its metamorphosis, but the preparation needed for a whole new life.
I’m not gonna lie, I see so many spiritual applications and personal challenges for me to apply from the life of the dragonfly. My hope is that you too will gain insight, hope and at the very least wonder as you remember the dragonfly.
Cheers to you.
All research based on info from Smithsonianmag.com and Treehugger.com