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Posts Tagged ‘Cordulia aenea’

Dragonflies are amazing. They spend most of their lives as nymphs in the water before they crawl out, discard their exoskeletons, and become beautiful aerial acrobats. I photographed this probable Downy Emerald dragonfly (Cordulia aenea) last weekend at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.

The object in the upper right in the first image is the discarded exoskeleton, often called an “exuvia,” and further down the vegetation is the dragonfly itself.  The dragonfly appears to have recently emerged from that same exuvia. Note how much longer the dragonfly’s body has grown after emergence. The wings of the dragonfly are not yet fully extended, suggesting that it still is in the process of emergence. If you look closely at the exuvia, you may notice some white stringy looking parts. These are the breathing tubes are part of the respiratory system that helped the dragonfly breathe while still a water-dwelling nymph.

I was standing on a relatively steep incline and the reed-like vegetation was growing out of the water, so it was a challenge to get a good angle to photograph the dragonfly. The second image was taken from a different angle from the first (and I was happy that I was able to keep from sliding into the water).

I proceeded down the trail for a while before looping back and returning to the spot where I had seen the dragonfly. I think the dragonfly in the final image may be the same one as in the first two shots, though obviously the perch is not the same. After dragonflies have emerged, they generally have to wait some time for the wings to harden and for their metamorphosis to be complete.

dragonfly in Vienna

dragonfly in Vienna

dragonfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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