Abandoned dragonfly casing as adult emerges

Dragonfly and damselfly larvae can be seen climbing out of ponds now.

They use the tall upright growing stems of any emergent marginal plants. You can watch this amazing spectacle – often in the early morning or late evening.

  • Plants used by dragonflies and damselfly larvae all have their roots and baskets below the water surface.
  • The water bound larvae can start to climb on foliage below the water surface.
  • On their final metamorphosis into adulthood the larvae will continue to climb up the stem into the air.
  • Plants like Carex, Cyperus, water Iris, Typha or Pontederia varieties are all good for this task.
  • Emerging larvae will climb up the stems and grip tightly before pushing a slit down the back of its outer casing
  • It will push its way free of the casing and hang onto the stem to harden its body and inflate the veins in its wings for flight.
  • It will leave an empty casing abandoned on the plants.
  • Within hours you can see the adults flit and fly above the water and within days mating.
  • The adult stage is usually the shortest in the life-cycle and rarely lasts for more than a few weeks.
  •  You may see the female deposit her eggs back into the pond by stretching her ovipositor down under the water surface into the plants or into mud in the margins of the pond.

See all our photos of the lifecycle stages of dragon or damselflies on our Tips and Advice page.

Cameras at the ready!

Plants useful for dragon and damselflies: