Last week’s puzzler was a bit tricky because there is another critter who starts its life out in fresh water and looks similar. Several people guessed that it was a dragonfly larva or dragonfly nymph. They were not correct, but they were super close.
The puzzler is a photo of a cousin of the dragonfly–a damselfly. They are both in the larger order of animals called Odonata, which means “toothed ones” because they have an extendible jaw under their heads. There are more than 5000 different species in the order Odonata. Some people have never heard of a damselfly but if you’ve ever spent any time around a lake, pond, stream, creek or river, you’ve probably seen them. Dragonflies and damselflies both start their lives out in the water, as an egg that then becomes what’s called a nymph or naiad. They remain in this state for a period of time before climbing out of the water and transforming into a winged adult.
Damselflies are usually smaller and more dainty than dragonflies, fly less swiftly and most species hold their wings over their body when at rest. Dragonflies on the other hand hold their wings open, perpendicular to their bodies. Dragonflies cannot close their wings. Click HERE to read more about about dragonflies.
In the water, they are also different. Dragonfly nymphs have a stout, spiky body that looks like a shield or that it has armored plates.
Damselfly nymphs are more slender and taper at the end.
Their gills are the long, flexible appendages at the end of their bodies.
Dragonfly nymphs have their gills inside of their bodies!
Do you know much about these creatures? If you want to learn more, check back next week as they will be my Creature Feature. Until then, have a great weekend! See you again soon.
And don’t forget to put your guess in to be eligible for the next giveaway drawing, which will be on the first day of summer–in a few weeks. Just use the comment box below and if your guess is correct, you will be entered!
Click HERE for the next puzzler.