by Shikhei Goh
"This photo was taken when I was taking photos of other insects, as I normally did during macro photo hunting. I wasn’t actually aware of this dragonfly since I was occupied with other objects. When I was about to take a picture of it, it suddenly rained, but the lighting was just superb. I decided to take the shot regardless of the rain."
Photographer Miroslaw Swietek
"One of the first pictures of dragonflies in drops of dew I did. The beginning of my adventure with photography."
"These two Blue Dasher dragonflies (top photo) demonstrate the amazing aerodynamic abilities of this insect. The intricate wing structure (top and bottom photos) is apparent in the still wings of the one, while the functional capacity is illustrated in the hovering of the other in this face-off between two males at a lily pond. Dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) have two pairs of independent wings that can beat either in or out of phase, modulating the amount of lift and drag. When hovering, the wings stroke back and down in a kind of rowing motion that creates vortices of air and upward drag: complex fluid dynamics instrumental in keeping the body stationary. The efficiency of the wings is increased by their capacity to flex and twist with the air. This natural action conserves energy that the insect would otherwise have to use to effect such turns by exercising muscles. The wings in the foreground also show a solidly colored (dark) cell called a pterostigma, which by its slightly heavier construction helps dampen vibrations and assists in gliding. Dragonflies can fly over 30 mph (48 km/h) and can even fly backwards. Research into their aerodynamics has been used to further the design of specialized aircraft and even wind turbines.
Dragonflies consume huge quantities of smaller flying insects, earning the nickname "mosquito hawks." Three-hundred-million-year-old fossil dragonflies are evidence of a very different atmosphere than we experience today, one so oxygen-rich that these insects' wingspans could reach two ft (0.65 m). They may have been one of the first insects and one of the first animals of any kind to evolve flight. Nearly 30,000 lenses make up the compound eye, giving the adult dragonfly a 360-degree field of vision (bottom photo). Find a favorite spot by a pond or stream and observe these wondrous creatures for yourself."
"Your delicate wings rapidly beat the air
The sleekness of your weightless body hovers
Curiously observing as though you care
Steadily searching for lifelong endeavors
Do you bring a message of a tranquil destiny?
Does your evolving maturity convey wisdom?
If I follow, will I find harmony or perplexity?
As you disappear… I am serenely lonesome"
Theresa Ann Moore