Dragon Fly nymph
Dragon Fly Nymph

Many of you, I’m sure, have possibly never seen a Dragonfly Nymph, and know very little, if anything about them. They are actually the terror of the deep when it comes to small fish and if you do not protect your fish tanks and other receptacles which are susceptible to being cruised by the adult Dragonfly, your fry and small fish will be their feeding grounds and you will never know what happened to them.  They, among other critters, are the reason that you never bring in plants you have gathered from the wild such as rivers, creeks and ponds.

This video should give you a little insight into what they are capable of

A dragonfly is an insect characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Dragonflies possess six legs (like any other insect), but most of them cannot walk well. Dragonflies are some of the fastest flying insects in the world. In general, large dragonflies like the hawkers have a maximum speed of 10–15 meters per second (22–34 mph) with an average cruising speed of about 4.5 meters per second (10 mph). Dragonflies are valuable predators as they eat mosquitos, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, and very rarely butterflies. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as “nymphs”, are aquatic.

Dragon Fly laying eggs
Dragon Fly laying eggs

A Dragonflies’ life span covers three stages; the egg, the nymph, and the adult dragonfly. Most of their life is lived out in the nymph stage. Male and female dragonflies mate while they are flying, then the female will lay her eggs on a plant in the water, or she will just drop them into the water. Once the eggs hatch, the dragonflies life begins as a nymph. A nymph looks like a little alien creature. Dragonfly nymphs live in the water while they grow and develop into dragonflies.

Dragonfly nymphs live in ponds or marshy areas because the waters are calmer than in a stream or river although they can sometimes be found in the calmer backwaters of rivers. Dragonfly nymphs have a various appetite.  The will eat anything living in the water such as small fish, tadpoles as well as their own kind.
Once the nymph is fully grown, and the weather is right, it will complete the metamorphosis into a dragonfly by crawling out of the water up the stem of a plant. The nymph will shed its skin onto the stem of the plant and once its wings are dry it will be off in search of food and a mate.  Adult dragonflies only live for about two months.

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