For Clay Today
ORANGE PARK – The often over looked dragonfly is an important member of our ecological community. Not only are dragonflies an important environmental indicator, they are a major help in controlling mosquitoes and other pest insects.
An adult dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in a day. Not only does the adult dragonfly eat adult mosquitoes, they also eat mosquitoes in their larval state, a double whammy. In order for dragonflies to flourish, they need a healthy aquatic ecosystem.
Water quality is of major importance to their well-being since most of their lives are spent in or near water. By limiting the use of insecticides in or near water, we can help these helpful creatures. An abundance of dragonflies is a pretty good indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
The dragonfly has a three-stage life cycle; egg, nymph (larva) and adult. The nymph stage is spent entirely in water, where the larva will eat anything smaller than itself. After a final molt, the nymph becomes an adult and begins its predator patrol.
Here in our state, there are more than 100 species of dragonflies. These three photos were taken recently in Clay County. There are many websites you can visit to find information about dragonflies since there are around 3,000 living species.