A Dragonfly’s life begins in the water and remains there for up to five years. The part of the life-cycle that we usually see is very brief and is only a fraction of their lifetime. In order to reach they point where they appear to be the king of the airways, they must survive and grow beneath the surface. Although they themselves are skilled predators, they are not immune from being eaten by fish, frogs, toads, newts, ducks and Kingfishers.

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Empty Dragonfly larva casing

Once they come out from the water they also face danger while emerging from their larval casing, which can take several hours. Most do this in the day but some emerge at night to avoid predators. Once on the wing they face the dangers of birds, frogs, spiders and other larger dragonflies.

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Common Darter Dragonfly resting among the tall grass
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Male Common Darter Dragonfly checking me out in case I’m a threat

During their brief flying time the important thing is to survive and mate in order to provide the next generation. Males work constantly to defend their territories, continually fighting off intruders. For the females, the eggs must be safely laid so the whole cycle can begin again. The water needs to be clean.

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Southern Hawker ovipositing (laying eggs)

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