The Dragonfly Life-cycle

February 22, 2016 Jacqui Grove

The dragonfly's life is an incredible story. It starts out as an aquatic larva called a nymph which can only survive under the water. It lives on the bottom of  a ponds or river shedding it's skin many times before it is fully grown and ready to be reborn.

Dragonflies spend most of their lives as nymphs, usually 2-4 years. As they grow bigger they find it more and more difficult to breath in the water and this triggers an instinct to climb upwards. 

Once out of the water the nymph gets a firm grasp onto the stem of a plant before it starts the incredible transformation into a dragonfly. This process of change is called metamorphosis.

It takes just a few hours for the dragonfly to wriggle out of it's nymph shell and fully emerge. Once free of the nymph exoskeleton , fluid pumps into the drahonfly's delicate wings until they are fully extended. Then the wings open for the first time to dry in the sun. Unlike damselflies or butterflies, the dragonfly will never close it's wings again. 

The dragonfly's new life is short. Even if it is not eaten by a bird or killed by another territorial male, it may last only a few days, weeks or months but the priority of the transformed dragonfly is to get busy finding food and a mate and so it doesn't look back, it never returns to the water, it just focuses on the moment, and if it is lucky, it lives just long enough to create the next generation of nymphs.

I love this YouTube film by Wildvod of a dragonfly emerging


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