Tag Archives: metamorphosis

Prairie Metamorphosis


Have you seen them yet?

As they begin their journey upward

From the bottoms of ponds,

the streams, the creeks that edge the tallgrass.

Will you be there?


When they surface,

Clamber out of the water, then, trembling,

Grasp grass blades while


The sun pulls itself over the horizon and

Illuminates, their dark, drab bodies


Which split open and become something new.

Have you seen them yet?


Those ferocious denizens of the deep,

Now in transition, they

Pump tensile strength lace into wings


While those eyes, those amazing eyes,

Move in a thousand directions and finally

Turn their gaze on you.


Have you seen them yet?


They rise into the air, everywhere,


Dazzling damselflies and


Note on Dragonflies and Damselflies. They begin life as eggs, which are laid in the water. Then, they hatch into ugly, drab, beetle-looking nymphs;  dragonflies and damselflies live in this stage for as long as eight years in ponds, streams and other wetlands. Responding to many different signals we don’t fully understand, they pull themselves out of the water and their bodies turn from drab and unattractive into the beautiful flyers we know. This process is called incomplete metamorphosis. As adult dragonflies and damselflies, they may live for as little as a few minutes if snatched by a passing bird, or as long as several months here in Illinois.

All photos by Cindy Crosby. Top to bottom: American rubyspot, Schulenberg Prairie at The Morton Arboretum; Carolina saddlebags, SP; Teneral stage dragonfly, Busse Woods Forest Preserve, Schaumburg, IL; mating green darners, BWFP; Violet dancer,  Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL;  Black saddlebags, SP; White-faced meadowhawk, NG;Ebony jewelwing, NG.)