Cheryl Sigler took this photo of a pair of Common Green Darner dragonflies as they were laying eggs in a pond at her parents' property in Bear Valley Springs.
Cheryl was recently visiting her parents, Dan and Cynthia, at their home in BVS, and she said that the summer dry conditions lowered the water level of their pond, creating an ideal habitat for dragonflies to lay their eggs.
Common Green Darners (Anax junius) are the only darner dragonflies to lay eggs in tandem. Here's what happens in dragonfly mating: males have pinchers at the end of their abdomen, and these fit into special grooves behind the females' head.
Males first place semen into a special pouch under their thorax, where the skinny part of their tail (abdomen) starts. The male then searches for a female, and if he finds a receptive one, she lands and he grasps her behind the head with the pinchers on the end of his tail, and they fly off together. No mating yet.
They eventually land again, and actual mating takes place when the female curls her abdomen forward underneath her body and reaches the tip of her tail up to the male's thorax pouch. This forms a heart shape of the two joined dragonflies, known as a "mating wheel."
With her eggs now fertilized, the female wants to lay eggs. In the case of Common Green Darners, the male stays attached to prevent rival males from interfering and potentially fertilizing the eggs themselves.
The female, with the male still attached, lays her eggs in a pond. The young will hatch and spend most of their lives as voracious little water dragons, eating mosquito larvae and other aquatic creatures.
The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Paiute) word for dragonfly is kazabinoozi, pronounced kah-zah-bi-NO-zee.
NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.