satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Mysterious Reflection

I was walking slowly around Ball Field Little seep (see "Midway Map" in the top menu bar.)  My attention was caught by morning light reflecting off something.  It was ahead of me, near the seep's shoreline.  At first I thought it was more plastic marine debris, which shows up everywhere on Midway.  It looked like a piece of cellophane.  (In the lower left corner of this first picture you'll see what I saw!)

I got closer and looked through my binoculars.  Wow!  It was a dragonfly!  And the sunlight wasn't reflecting off junk; it was sparkling off the dragonfly's four clear wings!!   I was looking at the indigenous Green Darner dragonfly, pinao in Hawaiian, Anax junius.  Here it was, out in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, in a seep, in Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge!

The dragonfly seemed to be struggling in the grass.  "Oh dear," I thought.  "The insect is caught.  I'll use a small stick to help it escape."

But as I looked closer I realized the little guy wasn't in need of my help.  It had just come out of its old skin (which is to the left of the insect's head in the second picture.)  The dragonfly had metamorphosed from being a nymph to now being a full-grown adult.  It was just taking time to pump up its new body and wings.  You can see in the picture that the left wings are still a little folded, and definitely need some more fluid pumped into them.  During the nymph stage of a dragonfly's life cycle it lives underwater; in fact, it is a big, tough predator among pond life.  As an adult, the dragonfly will be a predator above the pond.  Go, go, go; get those flies!

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