Most hikers will walk right past Lac de Golliet without even noticing it. The tiny lake lies on the way to some of the most pristine alpine lakes of the Alps. The world-famous Lac Blanc for example is without a doubt one of the most beautiful alpine lakes on the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Lacs de Chéserys are also known for their jaw-dropping beauty. However, Lac du Golliet is unknown, it’s a lot smaller than the famous alpine lakes and at 2060 meters it’s situated at a much lower altitude. No wonder most people don’t notice this little gem, but that’s a shame because in the heart of summer something very special happens here…
Lac de Golliet is home to many brightly coloured dragonflies. When you look closely, you’ll see them flying around, like miniature helicopters, between the stems of aquatic plants sticking out above the water’s surface. The largest spectacle, which takes place in the heart of summer, is the love game of the dragonflies when males and females are connected in a mating wheel. To mate, a male dragonfly grasps a female by her neck with his abdomen. Then the female collects the sperm from the male’s sexual organ with her abdomen. This way dragonflies can fly around attached to each other for quite a while: from a few seconds to a few hours. On a sunny, windless day in August, the Lac du Golliet is the place to be to watch dragonflies mating!
After the female is freed from the mating wheel, she will lay her eggs in the small lake and that has a massive impact underneath the water surface, because dragonfly larvae make live in Lac du Golliet very unsafe. Dragonfly larvae are, just like their beautifully coloured parents, carnivorous. The voracious meat-eating larvae will hunt for water creatures that are smaller than themselves, like water fleas and tadpoles. However, they’ll also eat other dragonfly larvae, because cannibalism is not uncommon for most dragonfly species.
Lac du Golliet is also home to many damselflies. While the “real” dragonflies are more robust, the equally beautiful coloured damselflies are much leaner. Both insects have four wings, but as soon as a dragonfly or damselfly lands on an aquatic plant, it’s easy to see the difference: damselflies usually close their wings, while dragonflies rest with their wings open.
Take your time!
In short, make sure you don’t just walk past Lac du Golliet on your way to Lac Blanc and Lacs de Chéserys. Take your time to see what’s happening between the plant stems of this little lake. You might witness some colourful and spectacular dragonfly love making!