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Discover Nature: Dragonflies Lay Eggs

A pronghorn clubtail dragonfly with yellow abdomen and translucent wings spread flat, rests on a blade of green grass.
Dragonflies like this pronghorn clubtail lay eggs on the surface of water this week in Missouri. Dragonflies begin their lifecycle as drab aquatic insects, but eventually metamorphose into colorful, acrobatic mosquito-eaters.

This week on Discover Nature, take a trip to a stream or pond near you, and observe the colorful dance of mating dragonflies across the surface of the water.



Adult dragonflies have long, slender, often colorful abdomens with robust bodies, large compound eyes, and sometimes spotted patterns on horizontally-outstretched wings.  


They don’t start out this way, though.  In mid-summer, watch courting dragonflies fly low over water – often attached to their mates.  In-flight, females deposit eggs along the surface of the water.  


Dragonflies spend most of their lives as drab aquatic nymphs – some species live for five years underwater before shedding their skin and becoming winged-adults.  


Dragonflies are important predators of mosquitoes, midges and other small insects, and nymphs are an important food source for fish and other aquatic animals.  

Nine Missouri dragonflies are Species of Conservation Concern.  The “Hine's emerald” dragonfly is Federally Endangered.

Learn more about Missouri’s dragonflies with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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