PEI

Why dragonflies are so abundant on P.E.I. this summer

If you think you've been seeing a lot of dragonflies on P.E.I. you are not alone.

'This heat and humidity we've been having is just perfect for them'

Dragonflies are really getting around on P.E.I. this summer. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

If you think you've been seeing a lot of dragonflies on P.E.I. you are not alone.

Dragonflies seem to be everywhere on the Island this summer, all with shimmering wings and some flashing colours of red, blue and green. There are 35 species of dragonfly on the Island, and a further 19 of damselfly, which are similar but built more delicately.

Dragonflies are 'really good to have around,' says Christine Noronha, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada. (Submitted by Cindy Rushton)

Dragonflies are most typically seen near fresh water, which is where they spend their early lives. Christine Noronha, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada, said the weather this summer is contributing to the ability of dragonflies to get around.

"Usually you have to go out to where a pond is but I have seen a few more. I think the reason for that is we've had a really warm summer, and most insects become really active when it's warm. They are cold-blooded so they need the heat to get their muscles warmed up so they can fly around," said Noronha.

Damselflies are similar to dragonflies, but with more delicate bodies. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

"I think this heat and humidity we've been having is just perfect for them and they're flying around more."

Temperatures in July and August were about 2 C above normal.

Apart from adding drama to the summer sky, dragonflies help control insects most people would rather not see, such as mosquitoes.

"They're really good to have around," said Noronha.

Dragonflies start their lives in the water. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"They're considered good bugs because they're feeding on other insects. Even in the ponds they're pretty good because the larvae will feed on mosquito larvae."

The hot weather has been good for insects such as mosquitoes as well, and Noronha believes there could be more prey around for dragonflies, allowing them to thrive.

There are 35 species of dragonfly on P.E.I., and 19 of damselfly. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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