Green darner dragonfly, an ancient predatorThe common, but beautiful green darner dragonfly (Anax junius) migrates from the northern United States down into Texas, Mexico and Central America, …
The common, but beautiful green darner dragonfly (Anax junius) migrates from the northern United States down into Texas, Mexico and Central America, accomplishing its mating along the way. Females lay eggs on vegetation under the water in ponds where the fast-swimming nymphs feed on insects, amphibian tadpoles and even small fish. Adults are predators on insects which they catch in flight.
It is a large dragonfly, reaching over 3 inches in body length with a wingspan of over 4 inches. Immature dragonflies undergo several molts over about three years. In the final molt the larva will emerge from the water and position itself on a vertical plant where the back skin cracks open and the adult insect emerges. After about an hour the body and wings are fully formed and ready for flight. This period of adult emergence is the most vulnerable time in the dragonfly's life and about 90 percent of mortality happens then, with birds and other predators taking the easy meal.
Fun fact: It is the official insect for the state of Washington.
- James Taulman, wildlife biologist
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