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Egg Laying--> Old Age--> Developing--> Emerging--> Growing Up--> Mating-->


The female dragonfly may lay her eggs immediately after mating or may wait several hours or even days! The eggs are fertilized as they pass out of the female's body.

Male Dragonflies, ever the territory fanatics, use a couple of techniques to make sure that their partner's eggs are laid in a safe place:

  • CONTACT GUARDING - the male dragonfly stays in tandem with the female while she lays her eggs.

  • HOVER GUARDING - the male flies above the female and drives away other males who may want to mate with her.  During hover guarding the male may leave to mate with another female if she appears in the area. Some species also oviposit unattended.  When this occurs, the egg-laying site is usually in a secluded area of high or thick vegetation insuring that she will not be bothered.

Odonates have two different methods of laying eggs and the shape of the egg depends upon the method used.  Endophytic dragonflies or damselflies have well formed ovipositors and insert their eggs into plant material, either above or below the surface of the water.  This is most common in Darners, Petaltails, and Spiketails.  Exophytic dragonflies and damselflies lack an ovipositor and deposit their eggs directly onto the surface of the water or onto the mud along the water's edge by tipping their abdomen against the water. The eggs of the endophytic species are usually long and cylindrical, and those eggs of exophytic species are broad and elliptical.

Females can deposit up to thousands of eggs at a given time depending upon the species.  The eggs may be white, yellow, orange and brown, or green.  At one end of the egg there is a small hole through which the sperm enters just before oviposition.  The eggs are sometimes surrounded by a thick, jelly-like substance which acts as glue to keep the eggs attached to rocks, wood or leaves, preventing them from being dragged by water currents. 

Some species over-winter as eggs, but the majority start to develop after they have been laid and the larvae will hatch before the onset of cold weather. The egg stages typically lasts from one to eight weeks but can vary with species and temperature.

© 2019 Sheryl Chacon Search