Life Cycle Of Dragonfly
The life cycle of a dragonfly is truly interesting, as the dragonfly hardly spends a lot time as an adult. The lifespan of a dragonfly just over a year, and its life cycle consists of 3 stages, namely the egg stage, the nymph and finally the adult stage. A dragonfly spends most of its life as a nymph and this stage is spent in water. Hence, that is why you can only spot a dragonfly nymph in a water body, such as a lake or pond.
The egg stage begins when the male and female dragonflies mate. The mating occurs while they are flying. It is common to see two dragonflies attached, which is a sign of mating. Usually the male attaches its abdomen to the female’s head. They will continue to fly in this manner until they can find a place to copulate. Once the female is impregnated, she will begin laying her eggs on a water plant. In case a female is unable to find a water plant, it is common for her to just drop the fertilized eggs into the water. The female dragonfly usually lays eggs in calm waters, such as lakes and ponds to prevent eggs from getting destroyed due to running water.
After the egg hatches, the nymph stage of the dragonfly starts. In this stage, the nymph does not look like the adult at all. It does not have wings and sports a hump on its back. A dragonfly nymph looks like an alien during this stage. This stage of the dragonfly’s life cycle is spent wholly in water and can last for up to 4 years. Usually, the nymph will stay in water until the weather gets warm enough in spring. Also, it not unheard of nymphs preying on smaller nymphs. The nymph will continue to live in water until it matures fully and is ready to metamorphose into an adult dragonfly. Nymphs are equipped with internal gills that allow them to breathe in the water. In order to breathe, the nymph will take in water and then circulate it around the gills. After the nymph extracts the oxygen from the water, it propels it out and this propulsion allows the nymph to move in a forward direction.
The metamorphosis occurs with the nymph climbing on to a water plant and shedding its skin. This results in the emergence of an adult dragonfly. The skin that is shed by the nymph during the metamorphosis is known as exuvia and is often found stuck on the stems of water plants for a long time, even after the adult dragonfly has flown away.
The moment the dragonfly becomes an adult, it will begin looking for a mate and food. Usually, the adult lives for just 2 months. And, once the dragonfly find a mate, the life cycle described above is repeated with the female laying eggs in calm and still waters. Adult dragonfly survives primarily on insects, but it can also eat worms, tadpoles, small fish and other insects. On the other hand, dragonflies have their own predators, such as frogs, ducks, turtles, fish, bigger insects and herons.
More Articles :
Dragonfly Site: The Dragonfly Life Cycle
Australian Museum: Dragonfly Life Cycle