Flying over a pond on their four fragile-looking wings, dragonflies look like simply ornaments of nature. But they aren’t nicknamed “mosquito hawks” for nothing. Dragonflies are some of the fiercest hunters in the insect word and their presence says a lot about the health of local habitats.

Dragonflies captivate Master Gardener Kara Lynn Greenfield and she will discuss this important insect at the February meeting of the Cross Timbers Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. Her talk, “Ode to Odonata,” will cover dragonfly anatomy, identification, life cycle, behaviors and migrations. Dragonflies spend most of their lives — several years — as larvae in wetlands, eating most everything they can find there. When they emerge as adults they hunt meals of flies, ants, termites, mosquitoes — anything they can catch in the air. As aerial acrobats they can fly forward and backward and hover like helicopters.

Greenfield says she discovered dragonflies when she was looking for something different for science lessons for her elementary school students. Now retired from her teaching career, she is a member of the Palo Pinto Master Gardeners. She and her husband live in Kennedale and spend their free time at Lake Palo Pinto.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Mount Pleasant School, 213 Raymond George Way in Weatherford. Visitors are welcome and light refreshments will be available.

The mission of the Cross Timbers Chapter is to promote the conservation, research and use of native plants and plant habitats in Texas through education, outreach and example. For more information visit http://npsot.org/wp/crosstimbers.

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