a huge and hidden migration
squadrons of dragonflies are once again patrolling my yard. they seemed to arrive all on the same day. which is unlikely, because dragonflies over winter in three different ways: some dragonflies spend the winter underwater in their larval stage, other dragonflies lay eggs that survive the winter and hatch the next spring, and a few species of dragonflies, like this green darner, migrate south for the winter. what? dragonflies migrate? i only just learned this recently, and it blows my mind. on tiny two-inch wings, these guys migrate as much as 900 miles each spring and fall. here’s what i learned with a quick google search:
In the early spring, the first generations exit the shelter of their Southern ponds and fly north, an average of 400 miles on the wing. There they lay their eggs and die. The second generation hatches in the north and, by September, has flown south. There they lay eggs and die, too. Because the South is the most comfortable place for a dragonfly late in the year, the third generation won’t migrate at all. They settle in for winter in Florida or the Caribbean. Life is good — until spring rolls around, when the cycle of eggs, death, birth repeats.
my son is particularly fond of dragonflies. he recently shared this factoid with me:
Dragonflies are the world’s deadliest hunters. They are four times more likely to catch their prey than big cats. Dragonflies catch more than 95 percent of the prey they target. Dragonflies keep their prey in sight at all times with their large eyes, adjust their flight, and can predict how their prey will move before catching it
okay, so maybe a little more than you were expecting to learn about dragonflies on an ordinary wednesday morning in june. but, c’mon, how remarkable are dragonflies?
green darner dragonfly