Interesting Facts About Dragonflies
These insects might be considered primitive, but their beautiful design was the basis of the modern-day helicopter. Scientists claim this because the wings of the dragonfly can’t be folded back on its body. In addition, the way in which the muscles for flight are used in the motion of the wings differs from the rest of insects. Watching them move with the Eastern Sierra as a backdrop is a magical sight that you’ll remember forever.
Only about an inch in length, these brightly colored specimens are on the “small” range. It’s considered one of the easiest to identify out of the Meadowhawks. This is due to those reddish-brown “bands” or “saddlebags” on the wings providing a quick identification clue. Their preferred habitat is shallow marshy areas with slow currents.
There are over 5,000 different species of dragonfly on the planet and more than 450 of them call the United States home. And they come in a rainbow of colors. So, it’s no wonder many cultures believe they signify omens if you see them in person like a four-leaf clover. For example, a Flame Skimmer is orange. This color of dragonfly symbolizes joy, creativity, wellness, and sensuality. It tells you to “Trust your instincts and be quick about it!” You’ll find these striking fliers in and around warm to hot springs or the ponds associated with them.
Said to be named in honor of a friend of Jean-Baptiste Godart, a 19th century French entomologist who described the species. Also known as the fire-rim tortoiseshell, these beautiful specimens appear to make seasonal elevational movements in the Sierra. Flying upslope in summer and downslope in autumn, they can be found in moist pastures and fields, marshes, woodland trails, streamside, and wet areas adjacent to woodlands.
Even if you aren’t into fly fishing, instead of brushing away these little residents, take a moment and appreciate them. If it wasn’t for them, birds, fish, and all the other animals wouldn’t survive in our big backyard.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BARBARA AND RON ORITI