Plant, Wildlife

Dragonfly Hovering Over US Rice Paddy

I’ve seen dragonfly in rice paddies in the past, and thought that they look beautiful, and seeing them today brought back my childhood memories growing up in the farm in Thailand, the town that we lived in is called Ban Na, very appropriate for the name because it means rice paddies village. I had a chance to visit my neighbor’s rice paddy again today, and saw dragonflies hovering over the rice paddy.

It has been awhile since I read about dragonfly, I came across some interesting reading from enchantedlearning.com that the dragonfly is a flying insect that can hover in mid-air. It eats other insects, catching them while it is flying, (and according to wikipedia, dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, and butterflies.) They are therefore valued as predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. There are many different species of dragonflies, and most of them are found near water. The earliest dragonflies appeared over 300 million years ago.

Like all insects, the dragonfly has a three-part body: a head, a thorax, and a long, thin, segmented abdomen. The dragonfly has 2 large compound eyes that take up most of the head. On the short thorax there are three pairs of jointed legs and two pairs of long, delicate, membranous wings. The dragonfly breathes through spiracles (tiny holes in the abdomen).

Life cycle: A dragonfly undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. The larva hatches from an egg which is laid in water, in plants near water, or even underwater. As this aquatic (living in the water) larva (called a nymph) grows, it molts (loses its old skin) many times. When fully-grown, it emerges from the water, using the claws on its feet to crawl onto a plant. The dragonfly flies away over land. It only returns to the water to reproduce and continue this cycle. The life span ranges from about 6 months to over 7 years (most of it is spent in the nymph stage – the adult lives for only a few weeks).

They also have beautiful Zenas at the edge of the rice paddy.

Since we’re on the subject of flower, Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is one of the most beautiful flowering shrubs/trees that my mom absolutely loved, and that might be one of the reasons as to why I planted several trees in my yard, seeing them in bloom made me think of my mom, this one of mine is odd, 2 colors in 1 tree, I have several pink Crape myrtle trees in my backyard.

8 thoughts on “Dragonfly Hovering Over US Rice Paddy”

  1. I like the dragonfly photo’s. They are such interesting creatures.

    Kudo’s on the crape myrtles. They are such great plants with a wide variety of colors that bloom for so long during the hot summers. Plus they are very tolerant of dry weather conditions once they are properly established. They require so little care with the exception of some after season pruning if that is your preference. I usually just let mine go and maybe clean them up every couple of years or so.

  2. i should go to my old house and take some pictures of my Aunt’s rice paddies to share them with you. My mom used to grow rice as well, but because we moved, she stoped. My aunts who still live in that same land still works the fields. I will try to stop by this weekend and snap couple of pictures to share. I do miss the place anyways.

    I love it when after the rice are ready to be harvest, they would harvest the rice and then have a big feast. We are suppose to do this feast to thank the ancesters for the wonderful crop and to share a little with them.

  3. Yep that ws Stockton California. I spent most of my childhood there and then moved to Georgia when i was in my early teens. It sure was great memories. Althought I only lived at that apartment complex for about 2 years or less. It still was a great time, great memories!

    It was a pity i wasn’t able to go to the new field this pass new year. But i hope to go this year. I always attend the Hmong new years up there, but last year just didn’t work out for me. I heard that the new field is huge, so I do want to go see it. It’s almost that time of year again to be able to dress up in Hmong clothes and enjoy the fastival. I am in fact very excited. You should really check out the Hmong new year! It’s very nice!

    It’s true, we hmong people are so used to staying close to one other that if we don’t stay close together and so forth, it’ll feel like we are out of place. I guess thats why we like to stay in communities and help each other out. There is a Hmong saying (w/ my rough translation) “eat to love, drink to argue” which pretty much means, no matter how small the amout we have, we are still a family and we should love and share what we have.

    There will be another tournament festival by the end of Aug, so I am looking foward to coming back up there for that. This festival wont be at the new field, but it’s oka.. this one will just be a sports tournament, so it wont be as exciting as the New year, I believe it’s a different group who is throwing this event. But Like i’ve said, you should really check out the Hmong new year festival this coming November.

  4. I just made the connection on my blog. It was your comment, right?

    Thanks for the kind words. I think you did pretty good with those dragonflies even without a telephoto. Pretty hard to sneak up close in a rice paddy where they have so many places to perch.

    I have some tall grass (I let it grow on purpose, lol) behind my house and the dragonflies often just hop from one stalk to another as I approach. I finally figured out a partial solution. I got some thin bamboo stalks taller than the grass and stuck them in the ground all around the grass. Many dragonflies like high perches with a good view. I was able to capture several shots without having to creep along in the lower grass only to have them constantly flitting of to a new perch just feet away.

    Good luck with your dragonfly hunting in the future. And try some damselflies, too. They aren’t nearly as fast as the dragonflies and typically flit around more like a butterfly, but they do not generally move too far. They tend to prefer shadier places, often with a lot of greenery. They will perch on the leaves of trees and shrubs. Dragonflies seem to prefer the bright sunlight more. Often the damselflies, especially the smaller ones, will let you get almost right on top of them with your camera.

  5. Hi BakerWatson, thanks for the visit and nice comment. I visited your blog and love your photos of dragonflies, and other pond creatures, your photos are beautiful, you must have used the telephoto lens to capture the dragonfly images.
    Thanks for the tips, I need to go out to the rice paddy again on Monday. 🙂 Oh, I think I can get lost by your pond area, very beautiful.

    mozemoua, I’d love to see your Aunt’s rice paddy, I’m sure the rice came out by now. I don’t think that we ever did the feast after the harvest, but I recalled the feast during harvest where they would have feast and dance lumwong at night, I used to sneak out and watch when I was little. The Thai (not sure about Lao) would prepare small meal for the ghost spirit before the planting season; they called them Pee Ta Hag (ghost) to ask for good planting season.

    I need to find out the exact place that they’re having the festival, I can probably get information from the a Hmong store that I normally buy my grocery, I think it would be interesting, I’d like it, especially the part where I don’t have to drive that far. 🙂

  6. Thanks Ginger – Just yesterday I went out and took some photo’s of dragonflies on the bamboo stakes – Had two on the tallest stake at the same time, different species and they let me approach to within inches – Just try to make sure your shadow doesn’t fall on them or beneath them – I think their eyesight is very sensitive and they measure the distance to objects below them based on changes in the light/dark – At least this is what I understand they use when they are flying and it seems to make sense – Many insects and other animals such as fish will respond to a shadow moving across them or under them

    Thanks for the kind comments and we always love to see you visit the pond.

    (And I do use a telephoto usually but it is a modest built in telephoto with a max of 4X.)

  7. Hi BakerWatson, thanks for the tips, I was out there this morning and noticed that they would fly away after I was closed enough. I also noticed that when I stood behind its tail, then it didn’t even notice that I was there, I got several good shots this way. 🙂

    A telephoto lens is a bit intimidating to me, and difficult to carry around, but it’s very tempting at the moment.

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