Dragonfly Exuviae

Dragonflies seen at Brooklyn Bridge Park these days include the twelve-spotted skimmer, blue dasher, painted skimmer, and variegated meadowhawk. These long exuviae, the shed exoskeleton of dragonfly larvae, belong to one of these, or perhaps another, species. In their larval stage, dragonflies are aquatic, and voracious predators. When ready to make the leap to the air, they emerge from the water, crawl up reeds and other vertical supports, grasp on tightly, and then bust out as adult, winged, dragonflies. They pump up their wings, dry out, and then fly off.I heard about some people recently very much insisting that dragonflies sting; their absolute conviction in their own misinformation (which we have SO much of in this country), however, is quite wrong. They do have serious jaws, the better to devour flying insects, and may try to bite you, should you poke them in the face (in which case you deserve the pinch), but won’t break the skin.These are about 2″ long, twice as long to the exuviae, from the same pond, I found last September.

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