Dragonflies: Magnificent Creatures of Water, Air, and Land by Pieter van Dokkum

By Pieter van Dokkum

Almost with no our noticing, dragonflies dart via our global, flying, seeing, searching, mating. Their lives are as mysterious as their gossamer wings are attractive. during this booklet Pieter van Dokkum finds some of the dragonfly’s secrets and techniques, shooting the phases of this remarkable insect’s existence cycle in extraordinary close-up pictures. He records scenes of dragonfly job seldom witnessed and barely photographed.
  
The ebook starts on a moonlit summer season evening, while an alien-looking larva crawls out of the water and transforms right into a totally shaped dragonfly. within the following chapters we witness dew-covered dragonflies gleaming within the morning sunlight, then a couple of mating dragonflies relocating throughout the air in a twelve-legged, eight-winged dance. within the ultimate bankruptcy, one iteration dies because the subsequent prepares to go away the water and start its personal winged trip. every one level is documented via van Dokkum’s inquisitive lens and followed via details on a number of species of dragonflies and damselflies, their metamorphosis, and their ecological significance as insect predators.

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Extra resources for Dragonflies: Magnificent Creatures of Water, Air, and Land

Example text

Dragonflies are nowhere to be seen, although they will soon take possession of the air. As the light began to fade the previous evening they sought out protected spots in trees and on plants, sometimes quite far from the water. There they still are, clinging to a stem or a leaf, awaiting the first rays of the morning sun. Do dragonflies sleep? At night they are motionless, with all bodily functions greatly diminished. Because the physiology of insects is so different from that of mammals, scientists are reluctant to describe this state as sleep, and have settled on the word “torpor” instead— although an observer would be forgiven for thinking that a dew-covered dragonfly on a cold morning is fast asleep.

Net) 32 a n e x c e l l e n t d e s i g n a n e x c e l l e n t d e s i g n 33­ Flame Skimmer (m) Dragonfly (above) and damselfly (right). Damselflies are generally smaller and more slender than dragonflies. Dragonflies have broad wings, which they keep extended when perching. Damselflies have relatively small wings, which they hold backward when they are at rest. 34 a n e x c e l l e n t d e s i g n Eastern Forktail (f ) a n e x c e l l e n t d e s i g n 35­ Eyes of a dragonfly. The eyes of dragonflies are huge and often touch at the top of the head.

About 80 percent of a dragonfly’s brain power is devoted to processing visual information. a n e x c e l l e n t d e s i g n 39­ Stained glass wing. The wings have a complex, rigid surface that is maintained by a network of veins. The subtle colors of this immature Black Meadowhawk are caused by sunlight reflecting off the still not quite transparent wings. 40 a n e x c e l l e n t d e s i g n Attachment of wings. Each of the four wings has a separate connection to the thorax, enabling dragonflies to move them independently from one another.

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