Damsels dancing in nature!

These colourful 'flying needles' are a pleasure to watch - next time you go out to a nature outing, take care to notice them and enjoy!

One of the very beautiful tiny insects that will often catch your attention is a needle-like creature that you see close to the edge of ponds and lakes, which seem to float magically in the air before settling, lightly, on a blade of grass.

IMG_8395

This slelnder, exquisite creature is the Damselfly. Damselflies, like Dragonflies, belong to the order Odonata, and are technically called Odonates. If you are interested in a more detailed name, they belong to the sub-order called Zygoptera.

How does one distinguish between Dragonflies and Damselflies? The former have their wings open at right angles to their bodies when they are at rest. With Damselflies, the bodies are even more slender, and most species fold the wings along the body when at rest.

IMG_8396

Some damselflies can be a little duller-looking, too:IMG_8424

All damselflies eat other insects, in fact, they are rather ferocious predators (That is indeed why dragonflies are so named!)

A mating pair form a shape known as a “heart” or “wheel”, the male clasping the female at the back of the head, the female curling her abdomen down to pick up sperm from secondary genitalia at the base of the male’s abdomen. In this picture I took at Jigani kere, they are just about form the heart.

IMG_7165

Adult damselflies catch and eat flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects. Often they hover among grasses and low vegetation, picking prey off stems and leaves with their spiny legs. Amazing to know that Damselflies are an ancient group, with fossils known from at least 250 million years ago. Damselflies are found on all the continents except Antarctica. Though most of them spend their lives close to where they hatch, some of them do migrate, as well.

IMG_4732

How have they impacted our culture? Damselflies have formed subjects for personal jewellery such as brooches since at least 1880. There is also the movie, Damselfly, a 2005 short film directed by Ben O’Connor. So the next time you are walking near water, do keep a lookout for these “flying needles”, and enjoy seeing and observing them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Event alert: Road to Environmental Justice

The annual DLN Rao Foundation Seminar will host Justice Abhay S Oka of the Supreme Court as the keynote speaker.

The annual DLN Rao Foundation Seminar, titled Road to Environmental Justice, will be held on April 13, 2024, Saturday, from 3 30 pm to 5 30pm at the NGO Hall, Cubbon Park. Citizen Matters is proud to be the media partner for this event. The seminar will host Supreme Court Justice, Abhay S Oka and Karnataka High Court Justice Sunil Dutt Yadav. Justice Abhay Oka will deliver the Keynote address. He is well known to citizens in Bengaluru from his tenure at the Karnataka HIgh Court. He pronounced landmark judgements and orders to protect the city’s lakes from encroachments, reiterated…

Similar Story

Unplanned growth, flawed notification endanger Delhi wetlands

Increased public involvement and lessons from successful restoration attempts can help revive the crucial wetlands under threat in the city.

Have you been to the Surajpur wetland, near Surajpur village in Gautam Budh Nagar district? Located in the midst of an expansive industrial city under the administrative purview of the Greater Noida Development Authority, it reveals itself as a mosaic of a sprawling lake, towering trees and thousands of birds, many flying in from distant lands. As you enter the wetland, the guards tell you not to go beyond the second viewpoint. It is untamed territory, the domain of many wild animals, they warn.  However, all has not been well in this sanctuary of nature. In January 2024, the Uttar…