Friday, June 4, 2010

Rant on Dragonflies, Crude Oil and My Louisiana...

A dragonfly has a life span of more than a year, but very little of that life is actually as an adult dragonfly. There are three stages of the dragonfly life cycle, 1)  the egg, 2)  the nymph, and 2)  the adult dragonfly. Most of the life cycle of a dragonfly is lived out in the nymph stage and you don’t see them at all, unless you are swimming underwater in a lake or pond with your eyes opened, of course.

The Egg Stage

A male and a female dragonfly will mate while they are flying in the air. After two dragonflies mate, the female dragonfly will lay her eggs on a plant in the water, or if she can’t find a suitable plant she will just drop them into the water.

Mr. and Mrs. Dragonfly doing their acrobatic mating dance.

The Nymph Stage

Once the dragonfly eggs hatch, the life cycle of a dragonfly larva begins as a nymph. A nymph looks like a little alien creature. It hasn’t grown its wings yet and has what looks like a crusty hump hanging onto its back. Dragonfly nymphs live in the water while they grow and develop into dragonflies. This portion of the dragonfly life cycle can take up to four years to complete, and if the nymph cycle is completed in the beginning of the wintertime, it will remain in the water until spring when it is warm enough to come out.
Dragonfly nymphs live in ponds or marshy areas because the waters are calmer than in a stream or river. Sometimes they can be found in the calmer backwaters of rivers, too. Dragonfly nymphs may eat smaller dragonfly nymphs as they develop. 

If their habits are covered in oil, an entire generation or more of dragonflies will be destroyed.  SHAME on BP for not taking care of this travesty.  The president should have the entire Coast Guard out there mopping, sopping, shoveling or just sucking up that oil.  WHERE IS THE HELP??  This disaster is making Katrina look small.  An entire ecosystem is being destroyed for only God knows how many generations and the oil is fast spreading to beaches and wetlands down the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The Adult Dragonfly Stage

Once the nymph is fully grown, and the weather is right, it will complete the metamorphosis into a dragonfly by crawling out of the water up the stem of a plant. The nymph will shed its skin onto the stem of the plant and will then be a young dragonfly. The skin that the nymph left behind is called the exuvia and you can find the exuvia still stuck to the stem for a long time after the dragonfly has left it.

Once the dragonfly leaves the exuvia it is a full grown dragonfly. The dragonfly will hunt for food and begin to look for a mate. Once the dragonfly finds a mate, the female will find a body of calm water that will be a good place to lay her eggs, and the life cycle of the dragonfly begins all over again. Adult dragonflies only live about two months.  And we are so fortunate to be able to watch these flying jewels and live beside them.

An aerial view of the Louisiana coastline & wetlands, a delicate ecosystem full of life.  This is in the Grand Isle area.  For years when I was a kid, we'd drive down to Grand Isle with our crabbing nets and chicken necks as bait in the ice chest and we'd go crabbing, catching ourselves several ice chests full and cook them right there in a rented cabin on stilts on the outdoor cooker.  Nothing has ever tasted better to me than those crabs cooked fresh and eaten right out of the Gulf of Mexico with a few fat shrimp tossed in for the litle kids who didn't want to beat the crabs and pick the sweet claw meat out.  All of my childhood vacations were either on the Louisiana coast, the Biloxi, MS coast, or the Texas coast. They were easy drives and we never had much money, but could always scrape up enough to rent a no-tell motel and fish, crab and lay out on the beach and enjoy the breezes.  These are all of my childhood vacation memories.  This summer both of my children and my sister have plans to vacation on the Gulf coast.  They're watching the situation closely and pray for BP to get busy cleaning up this mess.

A pink and purple dragonfly, one of the hundreds of species of this delicate bug.

My first tattoo, a dragonfly on my shoulder.

I've lived in Louisiana most of my life.  I remember catching dragonflies as a very young child and getting them to land on my tiny fingers.  They are creatures of water, earth, then air.
Our swamps and their delicate ecosystems are in danger.  I pray for everyone to still boycott BP until they somehow manage to stop that oil from billowing into the Gulf of Mexico and put together a clean up plan that involves all of the areas affected.  God help my beautiful State and all of it's coastal wildlife.


~*~ Marion ~*~ 

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands. ~Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923


In America today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops. ~Paul Brooks, The Pursuit of Wilderness, 1971


The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun. ~Ralph Nader, quoted in Linda Botts, ed., Loose Talk, 1980


When you defile the pleasant streams
And the wild bird's abiding place,
You massacre a million dreams
And cast your spittle in God's face.

~John Drinkwater


* said...

Gorgeous shot of the Louisiana coastline & wetlands! And informative dragonfly stuff, I never knew!

Love your tattoo, it is most beauteous. And the quotes strike a truthful, painful cord. Here's to clean up and solar power!

Marion said...

The disaster makes me my stomach and in my heart and soul. It feels as if an artery of Mother Earth has been cut...and there is no knowledge on how to stop the bleeding.

"And cast your spittle in God's face." this is exactly what I feel we're doing. Good post, Marion! xo

Kelly said...

I never knew all those details on dragonflies.


Woman in a Window said...

I wondered...
I didn't want to ask...
I hope like hell it gets cleaned up
and let it light a fire under us to revolutionize how we live. Let the restructuring begin!

Ralph Nader kicks ass!


quid said...

Beautiful Treatise on dragonflies. I loved the Grand Isle picture.



Wine and Words said...

Oh you sexy and your tat! I learned a lot here! Thank you for the schooling. I am so sad with you Marion. What a frig mess. Sadly I heave a big ass sigh.

Love you!


beautiful post, lady! the all of it - and i love your dragonfly on your shoulder!!! as you know, i'm a louisiana girl, too - and my mother and her mother before her spent most of their lives there, as did my father's family - so i've such a connection to the land of louisiana and my heart cries for its once beautiful and bountiful shores!!!

Marion said...

Thanks, all, for your comments. I love my dragonflies and my much maligned state and pray to God they get that hole plugged soon!

We're having a couple of much needed rainy days and it's awesome for my gardens. Spring was so cool, just perfect, that it ruined me for this heat wave which is upon us with a vengeance.

Love & Blessings to you all...