Have you ever wondered where dragonflies come from? They have been around for over 300 million years, with fossils being found that show dragonflies with an almost 2 foot wide wingspan! Dragonflies are not born with wings, nor do they originally live out of the water. Once they hatch underwater from an egg, they live the first part of their life in their *nymph stage.
Once ready, they emerge from the water and latch onto roots, plants, logs and in this case, boat docks, and shed their nymph skin, emerging as a dragonfly, wings and all. They begin the transformation by laying out in the sun and drying out their exoskeleton. Eventually, the dragonfly breaks the exoskeleton open along the back side of it’s head (It’s thorax) and pushes it’s body out through the rip on it’s thorax.
The white string like tenticles are actually the dragonflies respiratory system, which stays attached until the dragonfly fully pushes itself out of it’s nymph form.
The adult dragonfly then takes a few moments (this time 20 minutes) to dry itself off and for it’s wings to fully roll out and emerge, which is called hemolymph. Then it takes time to pump the water out of it’s abdomen before taking it’s first flight as an adult dragonfly.
The whole process takes about 3 hours for most dragonfly species to complete.
In this video, you see the last moments the newely emerged dragonfly takes within it’s nymph form. It leaves behind it’s former shell, now called *exuvia. This is a short clip to show how a dragonfly leaves it’s former shell.
*Nymph stage- The stage in which a dragonfly lives before reaching adulthood, where they shed their nymph exoskeleton (respiratory system and all) and emerge an adult dragonfly.
*Hemimetabolous metamorphosis is the metamorphosis that a dragonfly goes through.
*Exuvia- The shell of a nymph stage (including the respiratory system) once the adult dragonfly has emerged.