Adults are day-flying and are usually seen over freshwater, near river banks, streams or ponds. Try pond dipping to find them in their nymph stage!
There are 38 species of dragonflies (Latin name Odonata) in the UK and they can be divided into two distinct groups, Damselflies and Dragonflies. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is their resting wing positions. Dragonflies rest with their wings out flat, while damselflies often rest with them folded over their backs. There are three stages in the life-cycle of all dragonflies. The egg hatches into the larva or nymph, which moults up to 15 times before emerging as an adult. Unlike most other insects, there is no pupal stage and the change from larva to adult is known as incomplete metamorphosis. This doesn’t always take place in one year as the larva may spend up to three years underwater before emerging as an adult. The adult stage is usually the shortest in the life-cycle and rarely lasts for more than a week or two in the UK. Both nymphs and adult dragonflies are top pond predators, with the nymphs having special mouthparts which shoot out and seize their prey. While the adults catch their prey on the wing, using their legs like a basket to scoop it up mid air!