Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.
From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 16, 2012.
This week, we feature a series of mysterious names. Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess what group of flying animals has species with the names being called out by these recent campers along the New River. And here’s a hint: these creatures don’t breathe fire, but some do have spikes on their tail.
If you guessed dragonflies, you’re right! Spiketails, cruisers, darners, and other descriptive and sometimes fearsome names for dragonflies derive not only from these insects’ real appearance and behaviors, but also from historical superstitions or myths about supposed behaviors—such as the idea that darners could sew up the ears of misbehaving children. No matter what they’re called, all dragonflies—along with closely-related damselflies—spend the first part of their life cycle as aquatic larvae inhabiting various still or slow-moving freshwater habitats, particularly wetlands, ponds, and the edges of streams and rivers. Both the larvae and adults eat large numbers of a variety of prey, including mosquitoes and other biting flies. The over 400 North American species of dragonflies and damselflies are as diverse, colorful, and fascinating as their names—and that’s no myth.
For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463. From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.
Photos—The photo below of a Halloween Pennant dragonfly was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov (as of 7/16/12).
Acknowledgments: Thanks to several friends of Virginia Water Radio for recording dragonfly names on July 14, 2012.
Sources: Information on dragonflies was taken from Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies, by Blair Nikula and Jackie Sones with Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2002, 160 pp.); and A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, by J. Reese Voshell (Blacksburg, Va: McDonald and Woodward, 2002, 442 pp.). A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) list of the Odonata of Virginia (the insect order containing dragonflies and damselflies), with distribution maps and photographs of some species, is available online at http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/insects/dfly/va/toc.htm (as of 7/16/12). A quick guide to common Virginia dragonflies and damselflies is provided online by the Prince William Conservation Alliance, at http://www.pwconserve.org/wildlife/insects/dragonflies/index.htm (as of 7/16/12).
Recent Virginia Water News
For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.
Water Meetings and Other Events
For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at http://virginiawaterevents.wordpress.com/. The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.