We went hiking today at Moreau State Park and when we entered the beach area, scores of dragonflies flew up from the sand and grass. It was a sight to behold as they lifted up with wings glistening in the sun. As we continued to walk around the lake, we saw several dragonflies working their way out of their larval nymph body, which looks a little like a beetle and a lot like something you wouldn’t want to meet in the dark.
I know that dragonfly nymphs are water creatures and the lake at Moreau State Park seemed to suit them well. We saw hundreds during our walk around the shoreline. When they are ready for metamorphosis, the nymphs crawl from the water onto shore. Some of the empty larval bodies – called exuvia – could be seen near shore stuck to grasses or sticks. In the photo below we actual caught a dragonfly at the moment it was emerging. We stopped to watch and it looked like hard work for the insect, as it wriggled and pulled until it was free.