Did you know that not only amphibians have a double life? Frogs and toads live first in the water, while young as tadpoles. But also among insects there are species that spend their youth in the water and adult life in the air. We talk about dragonflies and damselflies.
More than 60 species live in Portugal, of which a dozen is easily reproducing in a biological pool. They are not always the same species everywhere because, depending on the area of the country, different dragonflies and damselflies live. The difference between the two is very simple, damselflies are the small ones, with slow and careful flight, a few centimeters only above vegetation or water. Dragonflies are called the large, high-flying species. Sometimes so fast that the animal is easily lost from sight. These flights in zigzag or abrupt curves those animals manage to do due to the existence of its four wings of almost individual positioning and maneuvering.
All species are diurnal, that is, they have activity during the day. Only one, the Dusk Hawker, goes hunting for other insects at dusk. So it is the only one who continues to do what it already did while living as larvae in the water, to go hunting during the night. We can also go hunting at night … well equipped with a torch to see in its focus the larvae of dragonflies active in the biological pool. In this form we find easily the larvae that can reach sizes of 5 cm in some species.
The most spectacular in the life of dragonflies and damselflies is the moment of metamorphosis. That is, on an early morning, when it comes out of the water, climbing up a trunk of a plant. Then the skin of the larvae opens on the neck and the so-called imago, the adult insect, comes out. There are still a few hours left to dry and pump the blood into the wings because they were folded under the skin while it left the exuviae in the process of metamorphosis.