Dragonfly moulting

Ancient rocks forming the Canadian Shield regularly dip their toes into the sparkling water of the Churchill River. These slabs can gently slide into the water providing a wonderful fishing platform or create thick moss and lichen covered ledges from which courageous swimmers leap into the water.

These same rocks after supporting millions of insect moults over their eons of existence decided to treat our group to a most amazing sight where we gazed upon a 10 to 15 minute spectacle of a dragonfly emerging from its split skin and turning into an adult before our eyes.

It began by someone spotting what appeared to be an injured insect struggling on the rocks. It rapidly became apparent that this was a moulting dragonfly that needed all of our attention. As you follow the sequence of pictures you will see the wings evolve from scrunched and folded lifeless wrinkles into fully veined pumped up wings that easily out maneuver a helicopter. Notice that the body is elongating and swelling as well. Just before the Dragonfly left on its maiden flight it released fluid droplets from the anal chamber. An extremely inhuman like head with compound eyes and mosquito crunching mandibles completed the spectacle.

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  1. Linda Landine August 30, 2019 at 8:09 am #

    Wow, thank-you for capturing and sharing this amazing event. I will show it to my granddaughters!

  2. Linda Hay August 24, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

    What a wonderful experience to watch this transformation happen. Thank you for sharing it with your terrific photos.

  3. Joanne M Sauvageau August 15, 2019 at 7:39 am #

    Amazing photos Trent. I agree! These should be submitted to National Geographic! Thanks for sharing.The photos of the swimming rocks brought back many childhood memories growing up in northern Quebec!

  4. Miranda Jones August 15, 2019 at 6:38 am #

    I will never forget watching this amazing transformation up at Namekus Lake many years ago. A bad case of water bourne illness (which we finally traced to giardia or cryptosporidium contaminated pump water), led me to the beach at 4am one morning en route to the dreaded outhouse! Apologies for including this detail but it is significant to my tale. I do not remember ever feeling so wretched! In my efforts to avoid throwing up into the abyss of that longdrop I lay on the white sand, concentrating on the beauty of my surroundings, anything but my churning stomach.. it was then I noticed, not just one, but thousands of primordial dragonfly nymphs crawling up onto the beach. I then observed repeatedly, in minute detail, this phenominal metamorphosis as the adult dragonflies began to emerge from their larval outer shells. All this as the sun was just starting to kiss the dragonfly’s emerging wings.. This was one of those indescribable moments where one loses track of time and space and the healing powers of nature came to my rescue. I do not recall actually being ill (although my husband sucummed violently a few hours later to the same contamination). What I will never forget is that vision of multiple freshly minted wings unfurling, catching the morning light then becoming airborne in a dazzling display of miniature aerodynamics.

  5. Jan August 15, 2019 at 6:14 am #

    Amazing! You might consider submitting these photos to National Geographic for their kids issue. My grandkids would be mesmerized watching a dragonfly moult! Thank you, Trent.

  6. Shelly M Benoit August 15, 2019 at 12:21 am #

    You have such an eye to capture this amazing phenomenon! These photos must indeed be rare, as was the sighting!
    That head looks so outer spacey. This is incredible,

  7. Nola Leighton August 14, 2019 at 8:56 pm #

    That is just amazing to see. What a special thing to witness. Go dragonfly! A monster machine for mosquitoes! Very alien looking but great friend to us mammals. Loved seeing this.

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