Warpaint Emerald Dragonflies

The long summer evening seemed shorter than usual because of the overcast sky. Even so, the ponds and pools were full of activity. Mosquito larvae waited at the surface of the water until something disturbed it or a shadow passed over. Then they would suddenly wriggle downwards.

It was over such a pool that a warpaint emerald dragonfly female hovered. The males love bright sunny days, but the females prefer overcast skies.

She found a section of water that she liked for laying her eggs. Then she hovered and dipped her abdomen into the water over and over but in a slightly different place each time.

The eggs settled into the sphagnum moss in the shallow water, hidden from predators until hatching time. The summer ended, and winter came. The little eggs were encased in ice until the spring thaw released them once more.

Life filled each egg. Soon one small dragonfly nymph hatched. She was a hunter from the first moment she emerged. She also looked nothing like her future adult self.

She had a long body and six legs but no wings. Most of all, she was hungry. The nymph did not care what she ate so long as she could eat.

Mosquito larvae were plentiful, and they made quick meals. She was also willing to eat any other insect larvae including that of other dragonflies. If she could catch them, they were eaten. The warpaint nymph didn't stop with other insects. She was also happy to eat tadpoles and small fish. The life of a dragonfly was to eat or be eaten.

The dragonfly nymph lived only in the water and breathed with the aid of gills. The world above the water was of little concern to her.

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