Thursday, February 24, 2005

Damselflies In Distress

Damselfies and dragonflies are two distinct species in the order Odonata. The damselfly, although quite similar to the dragonfly in many respects, can be most easily distinguished by the position of its wings when at rest, which lay together along the body, rather than spread out horizontally. Damselflies in addition, are usually more slender, weaker fliers and have a feminine look to them - hence the name. I wonder what the male damselflies might think about that, if they only knew.

Our two goldfish, white in colour, Snow White & The Seven Dwarves had gobbled down all of the nice looking water plants that I had purchased for them from the local pet shop. So I wasn't about to spend any more money on store bought water flora, when I knew that large masses were growing down in the waters of Kedron Brook for free.

Venturing down to the creek bed and after gathering some water weed into a two litre Coke bottle, I decided to sit for a little, taking a few pictures, quietly observing nature's private life. As I sat, I noticed a number of dragonflies, a few bright red, a few deep violet, dashing here and there, all aflutter chasing after one another in search for a mate. I sometimes wonder if we would look so flighty and absurd in our intricate dances of dating and courtship if viewed from the outside, a distant observer.

One memory that distinctly remains with me from my childhood happened when I spotted a light blue damselfly perched on the tip of a tree branch. It had been a particularly hot summer and there were flies everywhere - the common household variety. So as I was watching this bright blue damselfly on the branch, a housefly landed on my forehead and before I knew what happened, the damselfly flew up, grabbed the fly from my brow and landed back on the branch, proceeding to devour the helpless insect alive. Quite an experience.

Damsel or dragon?


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