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Beauty's Only Skin Deep | by A. Walden
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Beauty's Only Skin Deep

I know looks aren't everything, but what's not to love about this pretty creature? The sort one would love to invite in for a spot of tea, no?


This, for those unfamiliar with such lovliness, is a dragonfly larvae, many of which I find on the sides of my house when it is time for them to emerge from the aquatic nymph state which actually constitutes the larger portion of their lives, lasting up to five years. You can see the bits of sand from the lake still clinging to its shell. I'm not sure why they find it necessary to travel 50 yards or so to reach the house. Interestingly, while dragonflies themselves are completely harmless, these nymphs can provide a nasty bite to humans. The last photo shows their very capable "jaws."


I am always thrilled to find them and eagerly anticipate their arrival each year as they indicate their squadrons will fill the air, very effectively reducing the mosquito population. In fact, any flying insect which enters their patrol zone does so at their risk. I was happy to note that the numbers I saw swarming along the road suggested it is a boom year for these eager predators.


Lest anyone think that this particular fellow was prone to striking a pose, such is not the case. In noticing the standard "shells" on the walls, this appeared different, and closer examination suggested that, for whatever reason, this one wasn't quite able to fully emerge. The hump in the back is where the "hatching" occurs and along with the eyes, the process had begun but was aborted. Actually, kind of sad...

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Uploaded on May 20, 2012