Dragon fly skin after the dragon fly has “flown”. Note the hole in the back from whence the dragon fly emerged. Before I share any more photographs a caveat – if you are wading through a shallow pool of water, sludge, leaves, and algae brandishing a big net in one hand and dredging the bottom of the sludge in order to capture dragon fly nymphs (which need to stay in water and therefore need transplanting if you plan on draining their habitat) and newts, while your other hand is sporting a rubber glove, so that you can carefully pick up each animal as you find it and lift it up above your head into the bucket waiting by the poolside, and in the process you have rivulets of smelly algae water running down your arm and into your sleeve, you are not in a good position to take photographs, trust me, I tried. I tried hard. Pulling off the glove and trying not to drop the camera and wishing with all my heart to have a proper camera in the pool with me I did my best. I am not happy, the material would have been absolutely stunning, but oh well. During my morning in the pool, I took lots of photographs of dragon fly larva, of dragon flies, I saw dragon flies hatching, dragon flies drying their wings and dragon flies fly. The larval stage of dragon flies have a lifecycle of up to 4 years (depending on , they live as the dragon fly flying form for around 2 months of those years, the rest of the time they spend in the water. The dragon fly lays its eggs on a plant underwater, the nymphs develop, they are impressive looking, the larval stage of large dragon flies can take up to 5 years, when the dragon fly is ready to emerge the nymph climbs up onto a stalk and the skin splits open. At that point the dragon fly starts to emerge, which is an amazing sight. I couldn’t help thinking that the skin must be much bigger on the inside, rather like a baby mercedes.The emerging insect looks so much bigger than the skin it was in. If you look at the picture above, and the ones I will post in a next post, you’ll likely agree that it’s hard to imagine that such a huge insect could fit into so tight a skin.
So here is how they start out photograph of a dragon fly nymph, one of the few that I managed to transplant alive from the pool to a neighbour’s pond.