July 18, 2013 in Keepers Log

Dragonflies emerging

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Dragonfly emergency
A dragonfly emerges from its exuvia, the old skin that it will soon leave behind
Dragonfly molt
A freshly molted dragonfly stretches its wings

On these hot summer days, I get a strong impulse to turn into an aquatic mammal and spend the bulk of my waking hours in the water. While indulging this urge with a refreshing swim in the Hudson River, I noticed a creature with an instinctual compulsion in the opposite direction. One by one, muddy insect nymphs crawled from their underwater habitat and climbed up the rough-hewn stones of the Lighthouse base. Once out of the water, each one molted and burst out of its old skin. Warming to the new environs, each slowly unfolded a translucent and lacy membrane from its thorax. The transformation complete, they launched into the air as winged-beings. This metamorphosis happened right before our eyes.

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