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The Elusive Dragonfly

I have always been fascinated by the dragonfly.  The intensity of their colors, their movement, and their almost mystical appearance.  Every year it surprises me that dragonflies appear even here in the Pacific Northwest in September and October, even though I typically associate them with hotter weather. 

It turns out that there’s quite a lot to the dragonfly.   They have even inspired our Dragonfly Series of pens, and it’s one of our most popular.  So, in honor of the shimmering and stately dragonfly, here are a few facts that may make you think twice when you see a flash of color in the fall air. 

First of all, the good stuff.  Overall, Dragonflies are symbols of change, transformation, and adaptability.  They come in a variety of colors including red, yellow, blue, green, brown, and even black.  Many cultures believe the different dragonfly colors hold meaning.  For instance:

Red Dragonflies

  • In Japan, red dragonflies are considered sacred, offering a symbol of courage, strength and happiness. Many Native American tribes see dragonflies as a sign from heaven sent by their loved ones and many believe red dragonflies can “bring a time of rejuvenation after a long period of trials and hardship.”  Fishermen used them as an indicator of good fishing grounds. Plenty of dragonflies meant there were plenty of fish around.

Green Dragonflies

  • One of the rarest dragonflies in the world is the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, that also holds the record of being the only dragonfly on the US Endangered Species list.

Yellow Dragonflies

  • Yellow dragonflies are often associated with optimism, happiness, and honor.  The yellow Globe Skimmer also has the record for one of the largest insect migrations known – individually over 3,500 miles and in a group over 11,000 in a single migration!

And of course, a few fun facts to help you in your next Quiz Night 🙂

  • Dragonflies have been around for a very long time.  Matter of fact, prehistoric dragonflies could had wingspans of up to 2 ½ feet!
  • They eat mosquitoes and gnats! No kidding, and I will never look at one the same again!  They are a fan of the ‘drive thru’.  To catch their prey, dragonflies create a basket with their legs.  They then swoop in and catch the mosquito with their legs and can even eat “on the run” (too much information? Lol)
  • In order to see predators as well as their food, dragonflies have large compound eyes.  These eyes are made up of thousands of smaller eyes and allow the dragonfly to see in all directions.
  • When first hatched, the larva or nymphs live in the water.  Once they leave the water (after about a year), they instantly adapt to air.  Unfortunately, when they begin to fly, they only live for a few months.
  • Much like hummingbirds, they need to warm up in the sun during the morning before taking off and flying for most of the day. If the sun is not present, some dragonflies can generate heat by shaking their flight muscles before taking off.
  • Groups of dragonflies are called swarms and yes, there are folks who enjoy dragonfly watching, called “oding”
  • There are over 5000 species of dragonflies globally, 450 of which are found in the US. 
  • They are F-A-S-T, flying up to 100 kmh (60mph), and have the same strength when they fly backwards!

Finally, and particularly in this time of challenge, here are two thoughts to take with you:

  1. If a dragonfly visits you, it is a good sign. It indicates good luck, prosperity, harmony and fortune. These iridescent gems tell you to live your life with full potential, enjoying every day like it’s the last one.

  2. Legend has it that dragonflies were given an extra set of wings so that angels could ride on their backs.  Should a dragonfly visit you, so has an angel from heaven.

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