Monday, 5 September 2011

Ten things you might not know about... Dragonflies

Today on West Herts Drivetime Danny Smith spoke with Sarah Buckingham, on behalf of Herts Wildlife Trust. Here are her top 10 facts about... Dragonflies!


1. If you have heard of a damselfly you might have thought it completely different to dragonflies when actually they come under the same family -Odonata.

2. Dragonflies have a sharply serrated lower jaw which can extend and shoot out and grab prey in a split second! Scary!

3. But I wouldn't be too scared as dragonflies cannot sting you. Their deceptive looking tail is actually for laying eggs.

4. If you thought you were getting old then fear not! Dragonflies have been around since before dinosaurs according to fossil records. There oldest fossil records show an individual with a wingspan of 75cm... nearly two and a half feet!

5. If you're lucky you might spot a dragonfly in the early autumn months - possibly even in November. Dragonflies tend to hang around if it is warm.

6. Larvae (dragonfly egg) can take anything from 2-3 months to five years to develop. However, after all that waiting around the dragonfly itself lives only up two weeks! Poor thing!

7. Dragonflies, believe it or not, are big eaters. They are voracious predators in the underwater larval stage will eat crustaceans, worms, snails, leeches, tadpole and even small fish.

8. Dragonflies are sun worshippers and only fly when it is sunny.

9. In Hertfordshire we have 19 species of dragonfly in total. All of which have been recorded at Amwell Nature Reserve.

10. Finally, what's the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly? Well, damselflies generally rest with wings folded, whereas the stockier, more robust dragonflies rest with wings spread outwards.

The Wild Life Trust have a few events going on. On 11th September from 11am till 5pm you can participate in their version of Giant Monopoly! Entry is FREE and so is most city centre car parks so there is no excuse if you are FREE to not show your face. There are a range of activities suitable for children including Street Magician and community art project. For everyone who finishes the Monopoly route will receive a certficate and a badge.

Visit: http://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk for more details.

For the trust's members they have a Members' Day on Saturday 1 October from 10am to 4pm. See their website for more details: www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/membersday

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