During our childhood we used to run after butterflies. Occasionally we used to succeed catching them (without the net). At that time we learnt that the patterns/colours in their wings would get transferred on to our finger tips instantly when caught. However their sheen would also vanish. Since we were too young, we were not into collecting them and it was simply for fun. After some time our attention was drawn towards a different kind of flying creature which was equally beautiful. They were dragonflies/damselflies and were easier to catch. When caught we used to have a weight lifting competition. Each one of us would make one’s dragonfly sit on a small pebble. When lifted up, the dragonfly would have the pebble underneath. We will snatch the small pebble and make it to sit over a larger one. Every one of us would do the same with the fly in their hands. This goes on and at the end we decide as to which one lifted the heaviest pebble. That one will be the winner and then it is freed to fly away. Other dragon flies undergo a second phase of torture. A 5 feet thread is tied to the tail of each one of them. They are released to fly keeping the other end in our hands. The one which flies higher is declared the winner. They remain suspended in air for not being able to move forward and after some time they seek the ground, fully exhausted. We used to release them thereafter either by untying the thread or cutting it close to the tail.
Certainly we were very cruel to those harmless creatures but at that time our pleasure seemed to be more paramount than the pains the creature were subjected to. Today while I was roaming about in our village home, I came across many dragon flies of various hues flying around. That enabled me to live in the past for a while remembering the childhood days. When the trance was over, I picked up my small camera and went after them.
Similar to Butterflies, the Dragonflies too have a life cycle, Egg, Nymph and the Adult stage. Eggs are dropped in still water bodies where they hatch and turn to a Nymph. The Nymph sustains itself by eating smaller insects etc. and said to live up to four years in that stage and then the metamorphosis takes place. The dragon fly emerges and flies away in search of food in the open. Many of us could have observed Dragonflies hovering over water bodies. Factually they are endeavoring to find a suitable locale to lay their eggs.
Here is a chart which depicts the life cycle of a Dragonfly.