Friday, January 27, 2017

Insects are amazing

Fred sent this post a while ago. Still amazing!
Photos and text from Fred Heath.

Most dragonflies seem to be more picky about not liking cold weather than even butterflies. Of course, they also need water to lay their eggs,because the nymphs breathe through gills. So it was no surprise that with very little water in Sabino Creek and generally wintery conditions, there were no signs of dragonflies until mid-December. Then after some rain that got the creek moving again, the tracks of dragonfly nymphs starting showing up. I imagine that like the Gila Chub, there are always some nymph survivors in the pools that remain. Certainly there wasn't much evidence of adults flying around….until December 24 when the Variegated Meadowhawk in the photo was found sitting on a prickly pear far from the water. Although dragonflies are usually quite wary, this one allowed close approach (maybe it enjoyed basking in the sun). In the close-up photo, the legs spines can be clearly seen. These spines are used to help scoop up aerial prey and bring it to the mouth.

Photos by Fred Heath 12/24/2016

Click photo for larger view

Thanks, Fred!

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