Goldilocks and the three dragonfly larva

Huevos rancheros for breakfast lately, but not with green chile sauce. Green chile is starting to look a lot like dragonfly larva camouflaged at the bottom of the pond.

My two favorite things about my new job are brainstorming nature education programs and doing pond dipping presentations. Few things delight me more than sharing the life cycle of dragonflies with visitors. I meet the nicest people huddled over a tub of duckweed and squirming midge larvae.

So it was just right when a family with five little stair-step boys in matching orange striped shirts and baseball caps came to the pond dipping. The oldest would have been glad to take over scooping critters out of the wetlands with my net. The youngest was recently out of diapers, but could catch tiny mosquitofish with his fingers. Yes, he tended to squeeze the little fishies a bit too (lethally) hard.

This group of little guys, plus a dad, grandpa, and an uncle were the perfect audience when the pond dipping began to look like Marlin Perkins attacked by a crocodile on "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom". I had just identified and shown them a tiny damselfly larva when the smallest dragonfly larva captured and ate it. Then a bigger dragonfly larva caught the little one. After quite a "wrassle"* the big one ate the little one. The kids in striped shirts were looking through magnifying glasses and eating this up! It was real life, not a video game.

Wee baby dragonfly larva with snail

Mama dragonfly larva
Big daddy dragonfly larva

Just right damselfly larva

REALLY big green chile dragonfly larva
“I bet, with my net, I can get those Things yet!”

*Wrassle is an infrequently used spelling of the word wrestle, which is defined as to tussle with or physically fight with someone.

© 2014 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

Oh, my, this IS the perfect job for you. Loved encountering larvae and the word "wrassle" here in your blog.

Photolera Claudinha said...

Made me smile. Very reminiscent of limnological fieldtrips, back in the grey mists of the prae-historical age ... and I love green chilies.

seana graham said...

Yes, you may have to use red chili peppers for awhile.

And I find the idea of this family enchanting, although I much fear that the littlest one will never grow out of orange striped shirts.

Collagemama said...

Oh, ladies! You all made me laugh, but Seana speaks a major truth about hand-me-down shirts. Dressing all the same for an outing at a big public place or event is a useful tactic. We get quite a few lost child and found child situations, and it makes a visual impression on the staff that aids reunions.