This beautiful, twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella) emerged in our classroom on April 29! If you look closely, you can see the shell/instar/exoskeleton of the nymph. Dragonflies prefer to emerge at night. The previously aquatic nymph (also called a naiad) climbs out of the water and finds a safe place. It then goes through the final stage of its incomplete metamorphosis. The nymph’s exoskeleton will split and the adult dragonfly will begin to emerge. John and I observed emerging blue dasher dragonflies last summer in our pond. It can take from a few minutes up to a few hours for this process to be complete! After the dragonfly emerges, it will cling to the shell of the nymph and allow its wings to dry. After a few hours, the dragonfly’s wings are dry and it can fly away!
Malachi and I released our skimmer at the swamp. I hope she is doing well and is eating many mosquitoes!
If you have any questions about dragonflies, please post them here. I am no expert, but hopefully I can give you good answer!