At Zilker Park Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas
• July 23, 2005
Photograph by Bob Thomas
By Bob Thomas
Posted on April 15, 2013, from Fayetteville, Arkansas
The Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis) is a magnificent specimen of Dragonfly (Odonata). No matter how many times I photograph them, these colorful wonders of nature still thrill and amaze me. One would think that being such a brilliant red, the Neon Skimmer would be easily spotted. Not so. Perched on some vegetation, it can easily be passed by, thanks to nature’s way of providing camouflage that is second to none. Dragonflies are masters of using this virtue to not be seen.
Beauty is the beast. When, many years ago, I began my pursuit of knowledge about the insect world, I had no idea that these creatures could be so beautiful. But they never cease to amaze me with their sublime shapes and vibrant colors in all aspects of the spectrum — blacks to reds, browns to greens, blues to whites, yellows, golds, pinks, and much more.
Dragonflies are also one of Nature’s most fierce predators. I want to dispel all rumors of harm to man. They do not bite as they have no teeth, nor do they sting as they have no stingers. But they do eat mosquitos, flies, gnats, and many other pesky insects. They will eat each other, too — and I have heard it told that some very large Dragonflies in South America will pursue small humming birds. So they are predators from the get-go.
Out of the eggs… through the larval states… emerging out of the water… They grow to become kings of the air. Like many of its fellow members of Order Odonata, the Neon Skimmer is one of Nature’s best flight engineers. You can observe them hovering, going backwards, and then accelerating to 20 miles-per-hour in an instant. Catch ‘em if you can!
King of the Air was posted on Monday, April 15, 2013