Dragonflies and their close relatives, damselflies, known collectively as Odonata meaning “toothed jaw”, are beautiful and highly predatory insects that are mainly found in freshwater wetland areas. As larvae, they live underwater (some dragonflies for as long as 7 years), emerging as winged adults in Spring and Summer. And a warm sunny July day is perfect for observing these prehistoric looking insects. If you are lucky you may spot a larva crawling out of the water up a stem of vegetation. Here its skin splits along the back and the adult insect emerges, a lengthy procedure leaving behind the outer carapace attached to stems and leaves, before unfurling and allowing its wings to spread and stiffen. And then comes its maiden flight!
(Photo: Beautiful demoiselle)