Friday, August 1, 2008

Lifespan of a Dragonfly

I was looking at this picture of one of the dragonflies that I took a picture of:

and his wings seem a bit worse for wear and it was mentioned that the lifespan of a dragonfly is only 14 days so I found this:
"The lifespan of a dragonfly comprises of two-stages. After breeding the female dragonfly will deposit her eggs under or onto aquatic vegetation. Once the eggs have hatched the first stage in the lifestyle of a dragonfly can begin. This stage of a dragonfly's lifestyle is as an aquatic larvae, or 'nymph'. This stage will generally last between one and three years, during which time the larvae will act as a voracious predator of other insect larvae, tadpole and even small fish. Most other insect species, including moths and butterflies, go through a pupal stage before emerging as adults, however, dragonflies do not pupate. Instead the larval form will emerge from its aquatic environment and hang from the bank or a stem. From this position it will and bask in the warmth of the sunlight and undergo metamorphosis into its adult form. Once the larva's transformation is complete, the newly emerged adult will have to wait several hours before its wings dry out and become firm enough to fly. This is a critical time in the life cycle of the dragonfly as it is exposed to predation, which may even come from dragonfly larvae themselves. However, once the adult is able to fly it becomes once more a voracious predator, displaying its wonderful metallic armor. As an adult, its quarry will be flying insects and some of the larger dragonfly species may even predate its cousin the damsel fly.
Life as an adult sadly is a glorious burst, just long enough to reproduce. The adult dragonfly will not live beyond several months, depending on the quality of the weather. Generally speaking, if the weather is dry and warm then the adult may live as long as six months. However, in the short, and sometimes not so sweet summer of the British Isles, adults will tend not to live for longer than several weeks. If your eyes are keenly tuned to the air above rivers, lakes and ponds, you may just be fortunate enough to see a beautiful dragonfly dancing and darting, it is a truly marvelous sight indeed."

I am going to poke around some more about the loss of the wings - maybe another insect took a bite...anyways just for informational purposes...
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