Many years ago, when I would come and work once a month at Anahuc NWR, I always worked in theVisitor Center on Sundays, after working in the garden or working out of my canoe to spray water hayacinths and cattails on Saturdays. In the summer, we had few birds and fewer customers so I started watching dragonflies through binoculars to relieve the boardom and bought the book Dragonflies Through Binoculars. One slow day I remember watching a leopard frog trying to ambush dragonflies that landed on a bent piece of cattail. He would leap up and try to get them. I think he missed over twenty times.
Dragonflies are an important part of the food web at Anahuac and there are different species of dragonflies present at different times of the year. They often occur in swarms when we have our normal huge mosquito population. (According to one of my sources, we once had a group come in and trap mosquitoes across from the Visitor Center. The trap was set up in the evening and was to be checked in 12 hours. When the investigators came back the trap had filled completely up and the weight had made it fall to the ground prematurely. The mosquitoes were spread out on the front of a van and covered it several inches thick. The test didn't make it for the full time and still was a record. So there is lots of food for dragonflies.) The dragonfly larvae are also fierce predators. Lots of birds catch and eat dragonflies including our Eastern kingbirds and scissortail flycatchers. And I'm sure common nighthawks, barn swallows, and purple martins also eat lots of dragonflies.
I have new method of watering that allows me to use a 3/4 inch diameter garden hose. It makes watering MUCH easier but it now takes 5-6 minutes per tree to water it. So sometimes I bring my camera and try to capture some dragonfly pictures and learn what species they are.
Here are some of our species.
|Common Green Darner|
|Seaside Dragonlet Female|
|Seaside Dragonlet Male|