Image: Dragonfly life cycle

Dragonfly life cycle

Dragonflies are insects. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - larva - adult. Adult dragonflies have a long and slender abdomen, two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs. They also have very large eyes.

Creator:
Andrew Howells
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© Australian Museum

Notes

Dragonflies are insects. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - larva - adult.

Adult dragonflies have a long and slender abdomen, two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs. They also have very large eyes.

Adult dragonflies live near streams, lakes and ponds. The larvae live in streams, lakes and ponds among plants and rocks.

Adult dragonflies eat mainly flying insects. Larvae eat insects in the water, worms, and occasionally tadpoles and small fish.

Fish, turtles, frogs, ducks, herons and larger insects all like to eat dragonflies.

Adult dragonflies breathe by drawing air into special breathing tubes in their bodies. These tubes are called spiracles. Larvae breathe by sucking water into their abdomen and moving it over their internal gills. When they have enough oxygen they push the water out very fast and this helps them move through the water.

When dragonflies breed, the male will attach the back of his abdomen to the female's head and in this position they fly together. They will then find a perch to land on and the male and female mate. The female lays her eggs near or in the water.

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