Monday, 28 March 2016

The Business End of a Hairy Dragonfly Nymph

The fully grown Hairy Dragonfly nymph has spent the best part of its third day with the back of its head just above the surface and even at times, turning slightly sideways so that the white flecks with the mysterious dark openings are above the surface. Two yellow markings have become defined behind the eyes and will no doubt be present on the adult when she appears. After my observations yesterday, I spent quite a while trawling the internet in the hope I would come up with some answers but as of yet, it remains a mystery. I have asked various contacts but still await any answers but probably like me, they may well be just as confused by what they are. I am very much aware that the Hawker dragonflies breathe through their rectum but cannot find much literature on the process of changing from breathing under water to air. An interesting article I read yesterday commented on how there is some evidence that when they moult their skins, they can almost be like a chameleon and have a skin colour that blends into their surroundings. I have shingle mixed in with some sand on the bottom of my tanks and indeed, when I looked, the individuals I have are quite light in colour and do blend in well. To further prove the theory, I had a quick netting session in my outdoor pond which has a bottom layer of sand, mud, leaves and whatever else sinks down there. It wasn't long until I caught an almost black Hairy Dragonfly nymph from the depths. It would seem either a coincidence or indeed, this theory may well be true. Although I doubt whether this nymph will moult anymore, I have put this individual in my indoor tank to see if any kind of change does occur with the colour of the skin. It certainly stands out well at the moment but soon settled in well when it caught a worm last night. I shall keep monitoring and observing and hope I can get some answers to the questions I have posed and maybe in a few days or weeks time, I will have a Hairy Dragonfly nymph waiting to emerge. Exciting times are just around the corner!

Hairy Dragonfly Nymph (Business End)


  1. Incredibly nice picture. You are going a long process! Go for it!

  2. Replies
    1. Many thanks Wilma. Something different to show off their hidden jaws.

  3. Fascinating posts, as ever Marc. It'll be interesting to see if you get an answer on the gill-like openings and whether this darker nymph will moult and become lighter. Incredible photograph!

  4. Great macro, impressive. Gr. John