Or, “Here be dragons,” for those readers whose Latin is a bit rusty. Yes, right here at Battery Rooftop Garden, on the 35th floor in the heart of downtown Manhattan.
Spotted and photographed by Jeremy Law, this dragon is a Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (both damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) and dragonflies (suborder Anisoptera) are commonly referred to as “dragonflies”). This small, brightly colored insect usually inhabits small ponds and rivers. The eggs of the Common Blue Damselfly hatch — and the larvae, called nymphs, live — in the water. Nymphs climb out of the water up a suitable stem to molt into damselflies. So, to ask the obvious question, what’s it doing at an urban roof-top food garden? Could the two small fountains provide the necessary habitat, with their double-helix design perhaps inspiring the parent insects to add their genetic diversity to the garden?
Ancient cartographers used the phrase “here be dragons” to signify the unknown. Jeremy’s investigations, and my own experience growing plants on a green roof, suggest that urban agriculture is indeed terra incognita. We have a lot to learn.