Thursday, May 20, 2010

Damsel Days

The last time I was at the marsh I collected a jar of marsh water.  One of the treasures I found in the water was a tiny damselfly larva. This is what she looked like when I first brought her home. She has three feather-shaped gills at the end of her body. These damselflies are somewhat tolerant of stresses like pollution and loss of oxygen in water but they do best in unpolluted and higher water quality lakes, swamps, marshes, and ditches. 

In this stage she stayed in the water hunting tiny microscopic midges and a scud or two that also got collected in my jar of water. She shed her skin about a week after I brought her home and stayed in larva form for about two weeks.

 Here she is all grown up. She climbed onto a stick that I had placed into the water so that she would have a place to shed her last skin. She was so shiny and sleek looking. She tested her wings back and forth for about an hour. I then took her outside and let her fly off to hunt down some mosquitoes and find herself a mate.

 Here is the last skin that she slipped out of; you can still see her gills at the base of her body. She didn't need those anymore, so they were left behind with the skin.  

Source: "A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America" J. Reese Voshell, Jr /Pictures taken with Carson zOrb Digital Microscope   

No comments:

Post a Comment