The dragonfly that burst from this molted husk lived nearly its entire life underwater. As a larvae it was a fierce predator with an apatite for mosquito larvae, worms, and even small fish. YIKES.
An ancient species, dating back 300 million years, dragonflies owe their success as a species to their three-stage lifecycle. Although dragonflies go through metamorphosis, it is incomplete metamorphosis (as compared to the chrysalis making butterfly that totally gooyfies during pupation). After hatching from an egg the dragonfly will go through several stages, or instars as a nymph. Nymphs are aquatic and look like tiny, drab, leggy beetle monsters shedding their skin as they morph
into our alien overloads toward adulthood. And I think they can bit? Yup, big ones bite.
Nymph babies don’t fly but the adults do and can no longer survive under water. However, they must go back to their aquatic nursery to lay eggs, preferably far away from hungry fishes.
Summer 2020, a well kept pond in St. Louis City. Learn more about dragonflies here.