Empty casing abandoned

Emerging dragonflies and damselflies need to leave the water – the larvae will use the tall stems of emergent marginal plants to climb up and hold onto – Water Iris, Lythrum salicaria, Butomus umbellatus, Eriophorum angustifolium and Cyperus involucratus.

The larvae climb up out of the water to dry conditions so they can push themselves out of their final skin through the slit in the casing behind the head area. They leave the last of their larvae casings abandoned once they have unfurled their wings to fly for the first time.

Adults will fly for only a few weeks once they have emerged, dipping and swooping around the water  in order to mate and lay their eggs.

This emerging process often happens early in the morning and can take a couple of hours until the adult has basked in the sunshine, gained colour and strengthened their wings and is ready to fly. This sequence happened in the evening in our warm exhibit tunnel in late May 2016.

Have you seen any of the casings on your upright pond plants and wondered what they were? Check the Tips and Advice page to see an abandoned damselfly casing too.

For more photos of the stages of dragonfly lifecycles please visit our Tips and Advice page: Pond plants for dragonflies and damselflies.