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Dragonflies: Egg laying, nymphs & hatching. Part III of IV

A dragonfly lives as an immature nymph for a few years, but when it hatches into a dragonfly it only has a life span of a few months.

Photo credit Jack Ferguson There are three stages of the dragonfly life cycle, the egg, the nymph, and the adult dragonfly.

They will live as nymphs for up to four years, molting their skin many times, and finally when they mature into adults, they only live for a few months (depending upon the weather), often living just long enough to mature and reproduce.

All Damselflies and dragonflies lay their eggs in water, sometimes inside the stems and

leaves of emergent or submerged plants.

Photo: larva Dragonfly Nymph

Once the eggs hatch, the dragonfly larva – or nymph – is aquatic, and normally found

underwater while they grow and develop into dragonflies.They are generally dull, prehistoric looking creatures – nothing like the glorious adults.

During this time the larvae will act as a voracious predator of other insect larvae, tadpoles and even small fish. When they need a quick burst of speed, they eject

water from their anal opening to act like a jet propulsion system.

Unlike butterflies, dragonflies lack a pupal stage in their development. So when the adult

is ready to emerge, the larva has to crawl up onto the land, or plant stem, or tree. The

shed larval skin (known as an exuvia) is left in place, and you can look for these around

ponds, reservoirs and water catchments.


Freshly emerged dragonflies are ghostlike.

Their wings are shiny, their bodies lacking

in pigments. It can take up to two weeks for a dragonfly to reach sexual maturity, during

which time there is a transition to adult coloration.

for parts I and II copy and past these URLS into your browser:

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