Ecological research is certainly full of excitement.
In our pursuit of knowledge, Meghan and I donned our waders, grabbed our nets, and traveled into the mysterious wilds of Lake Hashawha toward our target.
Our target you ask? The majestic dragonfly, or more specifically, their larvae. These cricket-esque creatures are one of the top invertebrate predators in these types of aquatic environments, preying upon mosquito larvae, small tadpoles, and each other. Dragonfly larvae live mostly solitary lives, using substrate from their habitat to hide from predators and ambush prey.
Through our adventures in lake Hashawha, we encountered some of life’s most perplexing questions. Can one pull himself out of knee-deep mud pits using a friendly tree branch? Is crawling off of a dock into the mouth of an awaiting fish an evolutionarily advantageous behavior of dragonfly larvae? Do fish actually need water to survive?
Using our nets and a hint of cunning, we captured some larvae and placed them into our high-tech behavioral arenas to study activity level and hiding behavior.
With our arenas in the water and our behavioral trials commenced, we could finally begin the most
annoying enjoyable aspect of our research; explaining to the countless families visiting Hashawha just what in the world we were doing.