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Dragonfly adult
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Dragonfly - adult
See also: larva | benefit

Scientific Name: Odonata: several families and species

Status: beneficial aquatic predator

Beneficial Stage: immature and adult

Biology: Dragonflies are beneficial predatory insects, both in their adult and immature stages. Dragonfly adults are often brightly colored and have long, slender abdomens; large, multifaceted eyes; and two pairs of long, slender wings with netlike veins. Both pairs of wings usually have a stigma (colored patch) near the middle of the leading edge. The wings do not fold but are held outstretched when at rest. Dragonflies are very fast and active fliers, making them effective predators of insects flying near ponds or other bodies of water.

The immature stages of dragonflies are aquatic. Eggs are laid in or near bodies of water. Within a week, the eggs hatch and may larvae go through twelve to fifteen instars. Nymphs are very active predators. They have a unique, extendable jaw that they use to capture other aquatic insects. The majority of the dragonfly’s life is spent in the immature stage.