Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust

Promoting the British Countryside


About us Conservation Education Wildlife Habitats Maps Search Resources Sponsors


The Dragonfly Life Cycle

1. There are many different kinds of dragonflies. The Common Darter dragonflies (right) are mating. The red coloured male clasps the female by the neck. She places the tip of her body against the male and her eggs are fertilised.

mating.JPG (16216 bytes)

2. After mating the female dragonfly lays her many eggs. Most dragonflies lay their eggs in water or mud.


shlaying.jpg (12624 bytes)
3. The larvae which hatch out from the eggs live in water. This may be for as long as 4 or 5 years. They go through a series of stages. Each stage is larger than the last.

larva.jpg (8048 bytes)

The Southern Hawker dragonfly larva (right) has crawled up a plant stem. The head and body can just be seen starting to emerge from the old larval skeleton. NEXT emerge1.jpg (7616 bytes) 4. When it is fully developed, the dragonfly larva crawls out of the water and up something like a nearby plant stem. Unlike insects such as butterflies, they do not have the resting stage known as pupation. There is no chrysalis.