Occasionally, We Would Paddle Past A Giant Dragonfly Dipping Her Tail Repeatedly Into The Water. My Young Companions Didn’T Know It Was A Female Laying Her Eggs. The Eggs Would Hatch Into Larvae That Looked And Lived Nothing Like Dragonflies. The Larvae Live Underwater For A Year Or Two, Eating Snails, Tadpoles, And Fish Eggs, And Sometimes Even Snatching Insects, Such As Water Striders, Off The Surface. After A Year Or Two Of This Wet Diet, The Ugly Larvae Crawl Onto Land, Shed Their Skins, And Emerge As Creatures Of The Air Lovely Dragonflies.
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Imagine Having Spent All Your Life Crawling Underwater, And Then Suddenly Becoming A Creature With Wings To Fly Through The Air! And Not Just Any Wings; Dragonflies Have Been Described As “The Best Fliers This Planet Has Produced.” Now Your Food Is Also Winged, And Instead Of Eating Tadpoles And Snails You Must Capture Bees And Flies. You Must Also Accomplish The Tasks That Will Ensure A Future Generation: Mating And Laying Eggs. But Your Predators Have Changed As Well. Instead Of Hiding Beneath Rocks To Avoid Hungry Fish, You Must Now Dive To Avoid Hungry Birds, Even As You Migrate Among Them.
The Dragonflies We Saw Were Of The Largest Type, Commonly Called “Darners.” But A Number Of Different Darner Species Live In Delaware, And I Was Not Practiced Enough To Identify Them By Sight. I Would Have To Capture One And Bring It Back To The Land Of Blogs And Microscopes To Know For Certain Which This Was.
After That It Would Either Be Dead, Or Wishing It Were. Some Darner Species In Delaware Are Listed As Very Rare, And Perhaps This Was One Of The Rarest. After All, The Rarest Species Are Usually Found In The Rarest Habitats, And An Old-Growth Cypress Swamp In Delaware Is Just Such A Place. Surrounding This Gem Of A Spot Were Hundreds Of Thousands Of Acres Of Corn And Soybeans, Lawns, And Roads. Many Scientists Would Argue That The Possibility That This Dragonfly Was A Rare One Gave Me Good Reason To Capture And Identify It And Record Its Location. The Death Of This Organism Is Just An Unfortunate Side Effect Of The Process, They Would Say. But To My Way Of Thinking, Its Potential Rarity Is Exactly Why I Would Not Want To Capture It. We Had Passed Only Three Of These Intriguing Creatures What If Those Three Were All This Habitat Held? Some Believe In Capturing Until The End In Order To Record For Future Generations What We Have Lost. I Am Not One Of Them.
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