Aerial Dragons

By William T. Hathaway

Green Clearwing and Blue Skimmer Dragonflies

Dragonflies are so swift on the wing that we rarely see their body colors. Now and then we may run across a dragonfly resting on a sedge or reed, offering a close-up view.

Body colors are at full brilliance when the insect is temporarily anesthetized. However, after death the brilliancy may fade due to the cessation of metabolism. This is why many dragonflies in a pinned collection may have dull bodies with wing patterns still intact.

Some dragonfly species have colors that do not fade in the sunlight. These iridescent colors are produced by refraction or diffraction of light by the fine lined surface on parts of the insect's body.

The Green Clearwings and Blue Skimmers are just a couple of the many winged dragons patrolling our local ponds and nearby fields.