Damsel(fly)s in Distress!

Photos and text by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest AmeriCorps Member Lauren McKenna

Glencoe High School April 2013

No, we did not find any damsels in distress, but Glencoe students did find lots of Damselfly larvae in McKay Creek!

During their April SOLVE outing doing macroinvertebrate surveys, students found water striders, LOTS of spiders, giant dragonfly larvae, water mites, snails and even a cased caddisfly (yay!) and TONS of damselfly larvae (suborder Zygoptera) were wriggling about (“salsa dancing“, as one student put it!) trying to wash water and oxygen past its gills.  Damselflies as adults are pretty similar to adult dragonflies, though a little smaller, and are predators who feed on things like mosquito larvae.  In their nymph (baby, juvenile) stage, they live in the water and are actually pretty pollution tolerant.

While some students explored the creek (some of who returned with very wet feet), some explored another fun activity: eating dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) leaves… foraging for the win!  All parts of the dandelion are edible — roots, shoots, leaves, flowers — and there are lots of great recipes for this tasty, albeit underappreciated, weed.  Check out http://oldfashionedliving.com/dandelion.html for some dandelion recipes before the season is over!

Thanks for the fun!  And thank you to Richard Stanely and Linda Wolf for the extra macroinvertebrate supplies!

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