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"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.   And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)

Dragonflies
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dragonfly7.jpg (41549 bytes)This Anax junius dragonfly came to visit and alighted upon one of our fig trees to pose for some pictures.  The Anax junius is one of about 400 North American species of dragonflies and their close cousins the damselflies.  The easiest way to distinguish between a dragonfly and a damselfly is, that when resting, the damselfly holds its wings together over its back, while the dragonfly keeps its wings extended.

dragonfly1.jpg (32665 bytes)A close up view of the dragonfly's wing gives the appearance of a stained glass window.  Toward the lower right of this photo, we can see the second left wing through the first left wing.  To us, this is all part of the wonder and magnificence of God's creation.

dragonfly2.jpg (48095 bytes)The transparent quality of the dragonfly's wing allows us to observe the manner in which it holds onto the branches, particularly in the right side.  We can see both fore legs extending above the head to grasp both sides of the branch.   Just in front of the first left wing, we can see a middle leg reaching out to grasp a second branch just above the "V".  The left rear leg can be seen through the first left wing reaching out to grasp the branch just below the "V".   The two-section end of the tail can be clearly seen at the bottom of the photo.

dragonfly3.jpg (69575 bytes)In this photo, we can see the attachment of the four wings to the top of the dragonfly's back.  The dragonfly can fly better than a helicopter: it can hover, rise and descend, and change direction much more efficiently, which aids it in avoiding predatory birds and in capturing other insects.  It can also fly at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.

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dragonfly4.jpg (26717 bytes)This close-up top view of the dragonfly's head shows that the two eyes wrap around most of the head, giving these insects an excellent view of their surroundings.  Note the two antenna just in front of the large eyes.  The name, dragonfly, might cause some people to be concerned about their safety, but in reality, dragonflies are completely harmless to humans; in fact, they are quite beneficial because they eat mosquitoes, which led to another of their names, Mosquito Hawk.

dragonfly8.jpg (21127 bytes)Note the shape and detail of the dragonfly's leg.  It has a "spiked heel" to help wedge itself in position, and a hooked "foot" with which to grasp.  The spikes along the leg are also to help hold onto something.

dragonfly8a.jpg (70910 bytes)This side view of the head of the dragonfly gives an excellent perspective of the size of its eyes in comparison with the rest of its head and body.   This large eye plays a key role in the survival of this insect.  The hair covering the dragonfly's body can also be clearly seen in this photo.

 

 

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dragonfly9.jpg (36865 bytes)Dragonflies and damselflies are very interesting insects to observe.  When it is too hot, they will perch in the shade, as this one is doing, or they will position themselves to keep the heat away from their abdomen.  They are intelligent beings in their own right, and it is unfair for us to consider ourselves to be superior.  God created them just as He created us.   God gave us dominion over the other creatures of this world, so that we might protect them; He did not say we were superior to them, only that through our abilities we were capable of ruling this world.  Let us do so with sensitivity to the feeling of others and with unconditional love and compassion.

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If  you would like to contribute a photo and/or comment to these series, please contact;
Frank L. Hoffman flh@all-creatures.org


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