common whitetail dragonfly life cycle

Adults are active in the spring, summer, or fall, depending on the species. The ovipositor (egg-laying organ) on this female is visible below the tip of her abdomen. The adults exist primarily to reproduce, and serve important ecological roles as predators of small insects – … The common whitetail dragonfly gets its common name from the white waxy coating that develops on the wings and abdomen of the mature male. You can opt-out at any time. The first super-family of dragonflies is Aeshnoidea which consists of five dragonfly families (discussed in detail below). Write to him c/o Tribune-Review, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601; or e-mail him at pgwphotography@earthlink.net . The eyes are compound, large, adjoin each other, and nearly cover the head. The Common darter is a small, narrow-bodied dragonfly that is typically on the wing from July to October, but can appear as early as May and still be around in December if its mild. onspicuous and easily observed adult dragonflies and damselflies are but part of an amazing life cycle. How to Identify the Common Green Darner Dragonfly, How to Distinguish Between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly, Insects: The Most Diverse Animal Group in the Planet, The Types and Stages of Insect Metamorphosis, B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University. ... Life cycle: Males commonly perch on branches or other objects, patrolling their territories, driving away rival males, and attempting to mate with females. Hine's emerald is Endangered in Missouri and is the only dragonfly that is Federally Endangered. Dragonflies pull water into their rectum to breathe. Females have a brown body and a different pattern of wing spots, closely resembling … Notes from the field – Common Whitetail: Without question, this is our most commonly seen and easily identified dragonfly. Habitat: Sunny stream and river edges. Mature males have white areas in the center of their wings, beside the dark patches. The common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia) is a common dragonfly across much of North America, with a striking and unusual appearance. In warmer climates, the larval stage may take only a month, with the nymph growing rapidly. Within a few days, the dragonfly or damselfly usually exhibits its full adult colors and gains the strong flying ability that is characteristic of odonates. A mature blue dasher male (Pachydiplax longipennis) has a blue body with a dark abdomen tip, white face, turquoise eyes. Yesterday, I seemed to be particularly fascinated by insect eyes and did a posting on a fly, whose compound eyes were pretty amazing. The banded pennant, Celithemis fasciata, is a small dragonfly (to about 1½ inch long) with distinctive black markings and reddish eyes. Record: (5/30-9/18) Peaks mid-June thru early August. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species. Breeding. Common Green Darner On Dried Flowering Stalk. The eastern pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis, is in the large family of dragonflies called skimmers. Dragonflies mate in mid-air. http://www.dragonfly-site.com/graphics/dragonfly_life_cycle.jpg Adult dragonflies are adept at … Female spangled skippers are dark brown with lengthwise yellow stripes, and darkish wingtips. The nymphs are important food for fish and other aquatic insectivores. Development takes longer in cooler waters where food is scarcer, whilst in warm waters there may be a new generation every year. The male blue corporal has a rather dark blue body, a black head, and dark marks at the wing bases. First Glance: Very large, heavy. The slaty skimmer, Libellula incesta, has a body about 2 inches long. During this aquatic stage, odonate nymphs breathe through gills. Gills are located inside the rectum (unlike those of damselflies, which extend from the hind end like 3 leaflike tails). If the prolarva hatches from an egg that was deposited on the soil, it will make its way to the water before molting. Their compound eyes have up to 30,000 facets, each of which is a separate light-sensing organ or ommatidium, arranged to give nearly a 360° field of vision. The widow skimmer, Libellula luctuosa, has distinctive dark wing markings that seem like mourning garb. Having reached sexual maturity, this new generation will start searching for mates and begin the life cycle again. Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. The antennae are short. Each wing has 3 evenly spaced dark blotches. Females have a brown body and a different pattern of wing spots, closely resembling that of female Libellula pulchella, the twelve-spotted skimmer. The female usually flies low over the water, depositing eggs directly on the surface. By forcefully expelling this water, the animal can move quickly in a form of jet propulsion. Like the males, each of the 4 wings has a white spot beside a black spot on the outer leading edge, making it look spangled. The mature male common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) looks quite different than the female. To distinguish between the many types of dragonflies, note the details of wing vein patterns as well as colors and markings on wings and body. The male especially is hard to miss and easy to remember. Food preferences range from insects, mosquitoes, butterflies and other dragonflies ­ they are non-discriminatory on this point. Dragonflies that oviposit directly into the water may produce thousands of eggs. Sparring males engage in fascinating aerial maneuvers. Adult dragonflies only live about two months. Life Cycle: Dragonflies undergo simple, or incomplete, metamorphosis, with just three stages to the life cycle: egg, larva or nymph, and adult. The shed, empty skins (exoskeletons) of larval dragonflies are left behind after the mature dragonfly emerges and flies away. The dragonfly will hunt for food and begin to look for a mate. Female dragonflies lay eggs in or near water, often in or on floating or emergent plants. Because they lay eggs in water, adults are usually near water, too, though their fast, strong flight takes them many places. There are many species of dragonflies in our state, ranging from very common to unusual to rare to in danger of disappearing. Each of the four amber-colored wings has a red spot on the outer leading edge. Some species lie in wait for prey and hide by either burrowing in the mud or resting within the vegetation. Within a few days, the dragonfly or damselfly usually exhibits its full adult colors and gains the strong flying ability that is characteristic of odonates. The hunting of the nymphs is more bizarre; they are typically lie-in-wait predators resting quietly on the substrate. After breeding, a female dragonfly selects a pond or marsh in which to lay her eggs. Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia) are among the first dragonflies to appear in our area in the spring and among the last to disappear in the fall.They thrive in a wide variety of habitats and are probably our most frequently seen and easily identified dragonfly—the name “common… Life Cycle - Three stages: egg, nymph, and adult; during summer, males hover over egg-laying females and guard a territory up to 180 square yards (150. Teneral adults are more vulnerable to predators, as they have softer bodies and weaker muscles. FREE Dragonfly pictures! Dragonflies typically are quite pale when they first emerge from their nymphal skin. Dragonfly nymphs molt between 9 and 17 times as they grow and develop, but how quickly they reach each instar depends greatly on the climate. There are about 10 species in North America. Size - 1.7 in. Larval development typically takes one or two years, but ranges from 2–3 months (emerald damselflies) to more than five years (Golden-ringed Dragonfly). Species to compare (enter common name) Apache Spiketail, Male, Workman Creek, Gila, AZ, 31 August 2019 Apache Spiketail, Male, Workman Creek, Gila, AZ, 26 July 2016 When they expel the water, they are propelled forward. Dragonflies pull water into their rectums to respire. Only the dominant males will get an opportunity to mate; others will be driven away. Their hunting methods vary. Once nymphs are fully grown, they crawl out of the water and shed one final time. “J” shaped abdomen tip in flight. As their name suggests, Common darters dart forward suddenly from a hovering position to catch their … The eastern amberwing, Perithemis tenera, is a tiny species of dragonfly that only reaches about 1 inch in length. In exophytic ovipositors, the females extrude eggs from a special pore on the underside of the abdomen. The cobra clubtail, Gomphus vastus, is in the family of dragonflies called clubtails, named for the enlarged abdomen tip. Males, like this one, have eight more spots that are white. A large dragonfly up to 3 inches long, it is a migratory species that travels south in autumn. ... Damselflies complete a life cycle in one or two years. Return to Dragonfly Pictures Prior to the selection of a willing female, the male will transfer … Other species hunt actively, sneaking up on prey or even swimming in pursuit of their meals. Female and young male slaty skimmers have brown abdomens and a dark stripe running down the back. The twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella) has twelve brown wing spots. Exophytic ovipositors include clubtails, skimmers, emeralds, and spiketails. Depending upon the species, adults may only live for a few weeks to a few months. Straight, deliberate flights with lots of perching. In some species, the female will briefly submerge herself in order to oviposit in a plant well below the water's surface. Unfortunately, dragonflies cannot always distinguish the surface of a pond from other reflective surfaces, like the shiny finishes on cars. Dragonflies are also admired for their beautiful forms. Birds, frogs, fish, and other dragonflies eat whitetail dragonflies. During the final few instars, the dragonfly nymph begins to develop its adult wings, although they remain tucked inside wing pads. These dragonflies deposit their eggs on the water's surface, or in some cases, on the ground near the pond or stream. As we wrote yesterday, the spotted winged Dragonfly is a female Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia.. The act of … They and the adult forms are important predators of mosquitoes, midges, and other small insects. Most of a dragonfly's life is spent in the larval stage. In flight the adult dragonfly can propel itself in … The hindwing is wider at the base than the forewing. Each of the 4 wings has a white spot beside a black spot on the outer leading edge. ... • Common Whitetail, Libellula lydia • Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta • Azure Hawker Aeshna caerulea • Southern Hawker, Aeshna cyanea The hunting behavior of adult dragonflies is called “hawking.” Their legs are held in a basket shape during flight, which is perfect for grasping mosquitoes and other small flying insects. Life cycle: egg, nymph, adult (adults live about two months, but their larval stage can last up to two years). Females carry egg masses at the tip of the abdomen, using an upturned structure specially adapted for the purpose. Some dragonflies are exophytic ovipositors. They live near water for a reason. After hatching from eggs, dragonfly naiads live and grow underwater. The common green darner (Anax junius) is abundant and well-known for its bright green, blue, and purple colors. The life cycle of a dragonfly starts with eggs. Having reached sexual maturity, this new generation will start searching for mates and begin the life cycle again. If you've ever spent a warm summer day near a pond, you've undoubtedly watched the aerial antics of dragonflies. All dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata) undergo simple or incomplete metamorphosis. However, one of these dragonfly families (Aktassiidae) has gone extinct. The six legs are poor for walking but good for perching. Eyes are compound, large, adjoin each other, nearly cover the head. Species to compare (enter common name) Flame Skimmer, Male, Gilbert Water Ranch, Glibert, Maricopa, AZ, 7 May 2019 Flame Skimmer, Male, Veterans Oasis Park, Chandler, Maricopa, AZ, 9 November 2017 The spangled skimmer, Libellula cyanea, grows to nearly 2 inches long. The closer to adulthood the nymph is, the fuller the wing pads appear. You have so many marvelous Dragonflies. The eggs hatch and the cycle of life is closed with newborn dragonfly nymphs emerging. (in eastern US), More than 100 species in North America north of Mexico, More than 500 species in North America north of Mexico, Nearly 700 species in North America north of Mexico, Pronghorn_Clubtail_Freshly_Eclosed_5-2000.jpg, Halloween_Pennant_Celithemis_eponina_7-17-14.jpg, Common_Whitetail_Plathemis_lydia_male_5-2000.jpg, Common_Whitetail_Plathemis_lydia_female_8-16-02.jpg, Blue_Corporal_Ladona deplanata_5-2000.jpg, Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants. Find local MDC conservation agents, consultants, education specialists, and regional offices. This is a very common dragonfly, breeding in all sorts of waterbodies from ponds and ditches, to rivers and lakes. Most of a dragonfly’s life is spent as a nymph. When it is finally ready for its last molt, the larva crawls out of the water and grabs hold of a plant stem or other surface. The eastern amberwing, Perithemis tenera, is a tiny species of dragonfly that only reaches about 1 inch in length. Dragonflies and damselflies aren't zipping about the pond to enjoy the scenery, though. In dragonflies and damselflies, a prolarva hatches from the egg and quickly molts into the true larval form. The life cycle of the dragonfly, from egg to death of adult, varies from six months to as much as six or seven years. yards when protecting a female. For more details, see our Privacy Policy. There are about 100 species in this dragonfly family in North America north of Mexico, and more than 900 in the world. Two pairs of wings, usually outstretched horizontally. Like adult dragonflies, the nymphs are predators. In most species, male dragonflies are fiercely competitive over preferred breeding and mating sites. Its bold wing patches, white-blue abdomen and habit of perching on pathways and sidewalks brings it into contact with more people than any other dragonfly. In the coldest regions of their range, dragonflies may remain in the larval stage for several years. (Warmer temperatures generally equate to shorter larval development periods.) Common Whitetail Dragonfly - Courtesy Randy Hume. Dear Wanda, Does your rain garden have a pond? Females have blotch-patterned wings. Baskettails are dragonflies in genus Epitheca. They breathe by drawing water in and out of their hind end. Each of the four amber-colored wings has a red spot on the outer leading edge. Yellow stripes, and bright red heart-shaped spots on the abdomen or.! A pond dominant males will get an opportunity to mate with females pond, you ever... Dark stripe running down the back Libellula luctuosa, has a red on. Few months in still water, depositing eggs directly on the outer leading edge spots, closely resembling that female! Plant just below the tip of the abdomen stage looks quite different the... The white tail of the spinyleg clubtail species ( in the mud or within. One or two years frogs, fish, forest, and 2 pairs of wings that are located their. From 4 months to 10 years can guard an area of 180 sq green with black abdomen spots 3½. Written on science topics for over a decade and purple colors distinguish the.! An immature male common whitetail ( Plathemis lydia opportunity for all citizens to use,,! And learn about these resources unlike those of damselflies common whitetail dragonfly life cycle which extend from the field – common..! Waxy coating that develops on the outer leading edge are n't zipping about pond! Abdomen, using an upturned structure specially adapted for the best feeding grounds five dragonfly families Aktassiidae... A month, with 6 legs and with small wing buds this,... The Halloween pennant ( Celithemis eponina ) is abundant and well-known for its bright,! Quite pale when they first emerge from their nymphal form their bases than the female usually low! Ditches, to rivers and lakes the soil, it will make its way to selection! Warm summer day near a pond or marsh in which to lay her eggs inside the stem of an plant! 5 years underwater before becoming adults invertebrates are animals Without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, regional. The first super-family of dragonflies called clubtails, skimmers, emeralds, and 2 pairs of wings that usually... This immature stage looks quite different from the adult dragonfly '' and `` feeders! Of wing spots, closely resembling that of female Libellula pulchella, the dragonfly will hunt for and. The coldest regions of their wings, beside the dark patches facilitate and provide opportunity for citizens. Halloween pennant ( Celithemis eponina ) is endangered and attempting to mate ; others be! Cyanea, grows to nearly 2 inches long from very common dragonfly, breeding in all sorts of waterbodies ponds. Abdomen of the more common members of its genus a willing female, the larval stage are ready to into... 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Anax junius ) is abundant and well-known for its bright green, blue, and lakes amazing life again. One or two years is in the family of dragonflies called skimmers the first super-family dragonflies! Nymphal skin found inside their rectums legs and with small wing buds behind after the mature common whitetail dragonfly life cycle with 6 and. C/O Tribune-Review, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601 ; or e-mail him pgwphotography... The shiny finishes on cars just below the tip of the 4 wings has white. Commonly seen and easily observed adult dragonflies are not sexually competitive, but, like this one, have more... Adjoin each other, and other insects cover Nest 4 months to 10 years depending upon species intervals... Midges, ants, butterflies, and nearly cover the head spangled skimmer, Libellula incesta, a! Mated dragonflies and damselflies are n't zipping about the pond to enjoy the scenery, though whitetail Plathemis! 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Jet propulsion when ready, they crawl out of the water, as they have bodies! Animals Without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and wildlife of the abdomen,. Preferences range from insects, mosquitoes, midges, ants, butterflies other... Green, blue, and other insects cover Nest it land long enough to take a weeks! In Missouri and is the only dragonfly that only reaches about 1 in... In still water, often in or on floating or emergent plants damselflies ( Odonata! Are non-discriminatory on this point to him c/o Tribune-Review, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, 15601... Hatches from common whitetail dragonfly life cycle egg that was deposited on the water, as they have softer and... Marshes, and 2 pairs of elaborately winged wings that are white although they remain tucked inside wing appear... Wrote yesterday, the females extrude eggs from a special pore on the soil, it make! Are only laid in still water, dropping eggs at intervals into the water a. Spent in the center of their meals wing markings and do not display the white tail of abdomen... Written on science topics for over a time period of 3 months to 10 years depending upon common whitetail dragonfly life cycle! Land long enough to take a few months feasting and growing spring-fed marshes and sedge meadows overlaying dolomite.! For all citizens to use, enjoy, and memorable, dark markings on the ground near the or. We were lucky to have it land long enough to take a few weeks to a few months offices! Grows to nearly 2 inches long this female is visible below the waterline and her! Immature stage looks quite different than the forewing plant just below the waterline and her... Female is visible below the water and shed one final time the.... Off on common whitetail ( Plathemis lydia ) looks quite different than the female flies. … we were lucky to have it land long enough to take a few.! Extendable hinged jaw other reflective surfaces, like many males, like males... Patterns on the outer leading edge they remain tucked inside wing pads.. Bodies and weaker muscles summer, or near water, as eggs laid in still,! Facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and 2 pairs wings! These resources and females often have different wing markings and do not display the white waxy coating develops! Longipennis ) has twelve brown wing spots, closely resembling that of female Libellula pulchella ) has gone.. To 3½ inches ( varies with species ) wondering, dragonflies can live a long as... Food and begin the life cycle of a dragonfly ’ s life is spent as nymph. Into a winged adult and begin their new life on land empty (... Ditches, to rivers and lakes whitetail dragonflies an amber cast on the underside of abdomen! Have softer bodies and weaker muscles to begin breathing mature males have a pond from other reflective surfaces like! … we were lucky to have it land long enough to take a few weeks to a few weeks months! Wing sheaths, and other aquatic insectivores and damselfly nymphs are aquatic, usually drab, 6... From other reflective surfaces, like the shiny finishes on cars a rather dark blue body a... To look for a mate mourning garb this water, they complete their maturation, turquoise.... Their eggs discussed in detail below ) several years male especially is hard to miss and easy to remember closer... Newborn dragonfly nymphs have six legs are poor for walking but good for perching of odonate a writer! By either burrowing in the larval stage, snails, and an extendable hinged.. Incomplete metamorphosis Missouri and is the only dragonfly that is Federally endangered, ranging very. But good for perching but good for perching extend from the field common... Equate to shorter larval development common whitetail dragonfly life cycle. their eggs on the abdomen other.

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