Another Dragonfly Nymph

2021 January 17

Here is another dragonfly nymph that was living in the decorative pond we built in the back yard. We caught this one on July 12, 2019.


Here it is in a jar lid filled with water. It seemed happier this way than out of the water.

Putting it in water also allowed it to open up the end of its abdomen. Dragonfly nymphs breathe through gills inside of their abdomen, so they can not only pull in water, they can also quickly expel it so that they can jet away when they feel threatened.


This particular one had a bigger, more obvious labrum (lower lip) than the other dragonfly nymphs that we have seen. That whole structure on its underside is a lip, with a hinge in it, and grabbers on the end. It catches prey by shooting out the lip. It is very quick, and they can catch small fish that way.


Here’s the side of the labrum, you can see the joint in it. One of these days, I will get a dragonfly nymph to actually extend its labrum for us, but today is not that day, I’m afraid.


Identifying dragonfly nymphs to species is best done by rearing them to see what the adult looks like. Since I didn’t do that, I don’t think I can be too specific, although it does look a lot like the nymphs of the Darners in the family Aeshnidae.

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