The Swarm

I am thoroughly enjoying the throng of dragonflies that have appeared over the last week or so (tho seems to be waning) but also cringing as I drive through swarms of them on the road. Delighted because I am under the impression that they are voracious bug eaters and don’t bother people too much. If anyone has special insight on the life of dragonflies in the area, I’m all ears and wings.

14 Comments

french

about 10 years ago

Classification (Anisozygoptera). I have been enjoying the dragonflies, also. The nymphs are dark green or brown, and are usually found covered in algae. They feed on aquatic invertebrates such as mayfly larvae and small crayfish (small crayfish!!!), and also on small aquatic vertebrates such as tadpoles and minnows. They fly up to 34 mph. I found one half out of it's newly moulted nymph stage. It didn't make it and died, halfway into a new life. It looked like a transformer. One time I saved a dragonfly that was caught in a spiderweb, he made such a racket I went to investigate. The spider didn't want anything to do with him anyway, ha ha.

Bad Cat!

about 10 years ago

The dragonflies are a little late this year due to the cold spring. Usually the new hatches show up in droves to fly around the Olde World Renaissance Faire in Twig creating a near-magical atmosphere.
(all of the tourists ask if we imported them in just for the event)

Mildred

about 10 years ago

Yeah, it's horrible over by Cub and Home Depot. Hordes of dragonflies are emerging, only to fly across Central Entrance at low altitude...

french

about 10 years ago

On that note I present Insect Rally!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BhMvLNIpb8

heysme

about 10 years ago

Thanks French for clarifying what they eat - was hoping it was mosquitoes.

tomasbury

about 10 years ago

My wife and I were out on our deck last night in Chester Park and they were swarming over our home flying west towards the bowl. It was very cool to watch and I wanted to listen to Flight of the Valkyries

bluenewt

about 10 years ago

I think they are four-spotted skimmers. The ones flowing like a river through our back yard seem to be.

ruby2sd4y

about 10 years ago

They showed up in my back yard last Saturday - I love seeing them hanging around the yard, and yesterday as I had lunch on my deck, one seemed to enjoy sitting on the top corner of my MacBook for about 20 min.

Francene Starr

about 10 years ago

I like them too and feel for the doomed ones--and am happy people are commenting positively--I love Duluth.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

Yeah, most of them are juvenile four-spotted skimmers. I've noticed a few of other species, too. But the vast majority are the new molts. They *do* eat mosquitoes and flies and other flying insects when they are adults. It's when they are nymphs that they eat stuff in the water. Four-spotted skimmers also will catch and eat other dragonflies. 

If you go to a pond, you can watch them fight each other as they try to establish territories. It's like a middle-school playground out there. At Hartley and another pond nearby, I've seen lots of chalk-fronted corporals, whitetails, and 12-spotted skimmers too.

Elden

about 10 years ago

I agree that most of the recent hoarde were 4 spotted skimmers, with a few random ones mixed in (saw some 12 spotted skimmers and a few unidentifed club-tails too). Sometimes the large groups are only migrating through (Canada Darners usually). The recent influx has made me smile on numerous occasions. The sheer number of them was mind-boggling.

A great book is available in your bookstore's regional section: "Dragonflies of the North Woods". It is by the local dragonfly expert Kurt Mead. The book is good because it talks only about varieties of dragonflies and damselflies that you will see in the upper midwest (over 100 varieties).

Check it out for some more info on lifecycles, habits, great photos and identification markers.

bluenewt

about 10 years ago

+1 on Dragonflies of the North Woods. That whole "of the North Woods" series is great. They just came out with a new one on insects, by U of M Extension entomologist Jeffrey Hahn. Book + magnifying glass = hours of nerdy fun.

kanedaddy

about 10 years ago

Does this seem strange to anyone else?  I mean who knows this much about dragonflies?

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