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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meet My Little Friends

This warrior seems to be getting by with only 5 legs.
 Hanging out along the banks of the Pine River watching the long grasses and wildflowers sway in Michigan's  late summer breezes we enjoy the sight of one of natures most elegantly designed and fiercest predators. The Damselflies dainty name, compared with its larger and sturdier relative the Dragonfly, celebrates its symmetry and color as opposed to its prowess as a legendary insect hunter. As humans, symmetry and interesting color schemes are bedrock elements in our concept of beauty. Damselflies bring these attributes in abundance. Nature loves a great diversity and with well over 2,000 known variations, the true hard core fan is hard pressed to choose a favorite color scheme. The fact that Damselflies don't annoy humans, like the pesky mosquitoes they often dine on, doesn't hurt their reputation either. In terms of their human appreciation quotient there is much to love here and envy it seems. Bluets, pictured resting on and above the water, illustrate the male using the grasping organ at the tenth segment of their tails to attach themselves to the back of their lady friends heads, the beginning of an estimated 6 hour mating ritual. Impressive.
        It has also been noted in a study by the University of Antwerp in Belgium that certain male damselflies will seek out other males for sexual encounters when females of the species change their coloring to appear less attractive as potential mates. Curiously, Professors Hans Van Gossum's study even goes so far as to postulate that some males seem to prefer their own sex even when there is an abundance of females in the wild. One can only wonder how researchers got close enough to investigate this intriguing mystery. Click here to view National Geographics take on this story.
      Even with six legs Nature did not afford the damselfly the ability to walk. Their spiny legs are excellent for perching on grasses and sticks and its nearly impossible for its prey to escape their clutches. Damselflies hold their four Tiffany wings upright and together at rest rather then spread out flat and separated like a Dragonfly and their orb like eyes, which incorporate over 30,000 facets, give this visionary bug the unimaginably complex sense of sight that guides their aerial assaults.    
        Damselflies earn our respect as one of Earths most enduring creatures. The fossil record indicating their existence predating the "fragile" dinosaur by 100 million years!

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