Habitat Notes

A few weeks ago April was excited to spot a beautiful reddish-orange dragonfly in her garden.  She sent me the photo, hoping I could identify it.  This beauty was a Flame Skimmer, common to ponds, lakes, and streams in California. April wondered what it was doing in her garden — no wildlife pond there.  Even without a pond, a garden with plants that attract a lot of flying insects may also attract a wandering dragonfly looking for dinner. These insect predators spend most of their lives underwater where they will spend at least one winter season. Hiding out in pond debris and underwater vegetation, a dragonfly nymph preys on mosquito larvae, aquatic insects, and tadpoles. When ready to emerge, the dragonfly climbs up a plant stem, sheds its skin above water, and when its wings are dry, flies off.  Dragonflies may live for only a few weeks after they emerge, so male dragonflies waste no time looking for a mate.  When mating, a male dragonfly grabs the female behind her eyeballs, using appendages at the end of its abdomen. Females lay their eggs directly into the water or on aquatic vegetation, and the cycle begins once again.
-Nancy Bauer, Co-Creator and Board President