Dragonflies are hot, and Wiregrass Lake is a hot spot to see them.
More birders are adding dragonflies and the related damselflies to their life lists, new identification guides are being published for the showy insects and communities are even holding dragonfly festivals similar to birding events.
Wiregrass Lake is home to more than 50 species of dragonflies. That’s nearly one-third of the 162 species recorded in Ohio.
- Dragonflies don’t sting or bite and they don’t carry diseases or germs.
- They can reach speeds of 30 mph, dive, pivot 360 degrees and fly backwards and upside down.
- Immature dragonfly nymphs spend months underwater, sometimes even 3 to 5 years.
- Nymphs need surrounding plant life to climb out of the water, dry their emerging wings and begin their new lives as adults. Protected shoreline habitat is critical for their survival.
- As indicators of clean water, dragonflies are only found in healthy environments.
- As ancient insects, dragonflies took to the air long before dinosaurs walked the earth.
- 300 million years ago. The largest dragonfly fossil found had a 2½ foot wingspan.
- A dragonfly’s compound eyes have as many as 30,000 lenses, which gives it nearly 360 degree vision. Try to sneak up behind one! Dragonflies see a wider spectrum of colors than humans do.
- Some dragonflies hunt over the water like hawks looking for prey. Others dart around, grabbing prey. Some dragonflies catch insects with their feet.
- Dragonflies such as green darners and black saddlebags form swarms and migrate like birds.
- They are sometimes eaten by birds, spiders, fish, and even other dragonflies.