Amazing dragonflies


All these dragonflies were shot in Kathmandu - in the Botanical garden or in the yard of my house. It is not an easy task to take photos of dragonflies but it is always fun. These creatures are so strange looking and at the same time so beautiful. There is some interesting facts about these amazing insects.
Dragonflies are fast flyers and the fastest is Austrophlebia costali that can swoop downhill at 98 km/h, but more usually dashes about its territory at about 58 km/h.
Dragonflies flap their wings relatively slowly, at about 30 beats per second (compared with a honey bee at 300 b/s). Their body temperature varies with the air temperature. If their muscles are cold they are unable to fly, so they need to warm up first by basking in the sun or shivering their muscles.



Once airborne dragonflies tend to overheat, so they make 15 second glides to help to cool their body.
The dragonfly's huge bulging eyes cover more or less its entire head. Thanks to these the dragonfly can see nearly all the way round, scanning for prey while keeping a watch for hungry birds that may be interested in a meal themselves.
Its compound eyes are composed of more than 20 000 tiny six-sided facets each with its own tiny lens. The dragonfly can detect even the slightest possible movement.



The dragonfly keeps itself airborne by creating whirlwinds and vortices in the air. It has four wings, the front pair beating alternately with the pair at the back. Each wing moves in a figure-of-eight pattern. The dragonfly can fly in any direction without turning its body and can hover in one spot. The wings are almost identical to those of ancient dragonflies that flew some 320 million years ago.



In China, people associate the dragonfly with prosperity, harmony and as a good luck charm.
Amongst Native Americans, it is a sign of happiness, speed and purity.
The Welsh call the dragonfly "the snake’s servant" and think they follow snakes and stitch up their wounds. And in Portugal they are called "eye pokers" and "eye snatchers".
To the Japanese, it symbolizes summer and autumn and is admired and respected all over. Tthe Samurai used it as a symbol of power, agility and victory.



Some Japanese poetry about dragonflies.

The beginning of autumn,
Decided
By the red dragon-fly.

Shirao

Bright red pepper-pod . . .
it needs but shiny
wings and look . . .
Darting dragon-fly!

Basho



The dragon-fly,
It tried in vain to settle
On a blade of grass.

 Basho

The dragon-fly
Perches on the stick
That strikes at him.

 Kohyo


The instant it flies up
a dragonfly
loses its shadow

 Inahata Teiko


3 comments:

  1. Great photos and poetry. I once helped a grad student friend catch dragonflies for his dissertation research. They are beautiful and cunning creatures. And they bite. :)

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  2. Thank you! And I didn't know these creatures bite

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