Hi all, today's Day 63 or the Ninth Day of Christmas. If you follow my blog you'll know that I'm doing my own version of the 12 Days of Christmas called the 12 Days of Nature. The ninth verse of the original song goes like this. On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love sent to me, nine ladies dancing, eight Maids a-milking , seven Swans a-swimming, six Geese a-laying, five gold rings etc.
My version (as seen above) goes like this. On the Ninth Day of Nature my true love sent to me, nine Damsels Dancing, the new items, damsels, in case you're wondering are damselflies, not the ones in distress...
Here are the facts:
- There are lots of species of damselflies and they are sometimes seen to dance, so much so that it is a part of the common name of a number of species (e.g.Golden Dancing Jewel, Blue Fronted Dancer) which is why I chose them for the ninth day of nature. The first few seconds of the Youtube video below shows you a little bit of why they may have been called dancers.
- There are many species and sub-species of damselflies one of which is the demoiselle. I have already done a post on the Banded Demoiselle. Click here to see it.
- Damselflies are amongst the most ancient of creatures and are also one of the largest insects ever to fly. Just like my post on the Pinosaurs, scientists have recently found a species living in Australia that has no living relatives. Its ancient relatives are only found in 250-300 million year old fossils.
- Their order, Odanata, translates weirdly to 'toothed ones'. This is weird because they don't actually have teeth, they have tooth-like ridges on their jaws (mandibles).
- Eggs are laid in water and after a few weeks and sometimes months they hatch into a larvae or nymph. Most of their life as a larvae or nymph is spent underwater. This stage can last from two months to three years depending on species. That's a long time for a bug! It's a shame they don't live long above water in their adult stage where we all like seeing them fly around. The amount of time spent as an adult in most species lasts just a few weeks although some species last a few months.
- Both nymphs and adults are carnivores. Nymphs eat baby fish, smaller nymphs and water beetles. Adults eat on the wing catching flying insects as they go.
- There are 2,600 damselfly species of lots of different sizes. Their wingspans can range from 18mm (tiny) to around 19 cm (huge, for a damselfly).
- Damselflies, unlike dragonflies with a few exceptions, hold their wings vertically and together when at rest. (Dragonflies tend to have them horizontally and spread apart.)
Well there's lots to learn about these fabulous little creatures and I can't wait until they're up and flying about again. Here's some links to some more information:
Hope you enjoyed,