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Dragonflies: The Yellow Tailed Ashy Skimmer

September 17, 2013

Photographer and Author: Himalee Adhav

Dragonflies have always captivated us!

Their iridescent wings, their speedy, whizzing flight and their vivid, enigmatic colours can never go unnoticed before our eyes.
It was the beginning of spring and the day, the 17th of March. It was nice and sunny. I was on my morning walk in the Taljai Hills in Pune, when at about 09:14 a.m., I chanced upon this lovely creature. A Yellow-tailed Ashy Skimmer perched on the stalk of a plant in the fresh sunlight of the morning.

Yellow Tailed Ashy Skimmer by Himalee Adhav

Yellow Tailed Ashy Skimmer by Himalee Adhav

Interestingly, all the dragonflies belong to the Order Odonata. Odonata means ‘toothed ones’; with reference to the toothy lower lip of a dragonfly. About 500 species of this order are found in India.

Binomial nomenclature of the Yellow-tailed Ashy Skimmer is Potamarcha congener. It is a medium-sized dragonfly belonging to the Skimmer family of dragonflies. The noticeable features of this species are the bluish thorax, the face color, ranging from yellow to brown to black, eyes of reddish color above and greenish below and clear wings having dark brown tips.

Dragonflies prey on mosquitoes, flies, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, etc. They themselves are preyed upon by birds, lizards, frogs, spiders, larger dragonflies, etc.

The lifecycle of a dragonfly is very unique. The adult stage or the dragonfly is terrestrial in habitat, while the larval stage or the nymph is aquatic.

Dragonflies are a very important part of an ecosystem. Being predators to insects like mosquitoes, they help control their population. Also, their presence is an indicator of good quality of water. This being said, water pollution affects their life cycle adversely.

Dragonflies spend a very small amount of their life as adult, flying dragonflies and thus, teach us the importance of living in the moment and enjoying all the simple joys of life!

References:

1. Dr. R M Sharma (ret.)
2. Book Reference: i) The Insects: An Outline of Entomology by P.J. Gullan & P.S. Cranston
ii) Introduction to Insect Behavior by Michael D. Atkins
3. Web Reference: Bug Walks with Ron Lyons: http://casswww.ucsd.edu/archive/personal/ron/CVNC/odonata/index.html

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