How Long Do Dragonflies Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 To 3 Years

Dragonflies are small insects that are often seen flying around households in local areas. These flying insects are predators which are born near water bodies and then they further migrate across oceans to find a perfect habitat.

Female Dragonflies lay their eggs in water bodies or around water bodies. The reason behind that is because water is the only habitat where dragonflies can survive during the larvae stage. However, dragonflies often mistake shiny surfaces for water bodies and lay the eggs there. After laying the eggs in such places, the larvae of the Dragonfly fail to survive because of lack of water and thus, this leads to a decrease in the population of dragonflies. Dragonflies are attracted to shiny surfaces like polished gravestones, solar panels, automobiles, and other such places.

How Long Do Dragonflies Live?

On average, the lifespan of a dragonfly ranges from a minimum of a month to a maximum of two months. The lifespan of a dragonfly consists of two life phases. After the male dragonfly breeds with the female dragonfly, the female dragonfly lays eggs either near any water source or near where water will get filled further in time. 

After the eggs are hatched, the lifespan of the dragonfly starts. The first life phase in the lifespan of a Dragonfly is known as the nymph phase. In this, the dragonfly is aquatic larvae and lives in water. The nymph stage in the lifespan of a dragonfly lasts for 2 to 3 years. During this phase, the larvae act as predators and rely upon other insect larvae, tadpoles, and small fishes as their food source. However, this phase is not generally included in the lifespan of a dragonfly, but only the adult phase is counted for how long a Dragonfly lives. But, if you are wanting to know for exactly how long a dragonfly lives, then this is must be counted as well.

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After the nymph phase, the larvae of the dragonfly undergo metamorphosis to turn into an adult dragonfly. It is surprising to know that the lifespan of an adult dragonfly is drastically shorter than the lifespan of the dragonfly in the nymph phase. The adult phase of the dragonfly lasts for about 4 to 6 months. 

Here is a quick summary of the phases in the life cycle of a Dragonfly from egg to death and the time for which the dragonflies live in that phase:

Stages In A Lifespan Of A DragonflyTime
Nymph stage2 to 3 years
Adult phase4 to 6 months

Why Do Dragonflies Live That Long?

The reason why dragonflies live that long is that their life cycle is designed in such a way. 

Although many scientists believe and consider the egg phase of the dragonfly as one of the phases in lifespan also. If so, then the lifespan of the dragonfly can be calculated and extended by at least 6 months.

However, currently according to what the majority of the scientists believe, the life cycle of the dragonfly consists of only two phases that are: The nymph phase and the adult phase. The nymph phase is the longest phase that longs for 2 to 3 years. The reason behind that is because, during this body, the body of the dragonfly gets developed. In this phase, the body gets molded for the adult stage and gets shredded up to 17 to 20 times. 

One important thing to be considered is that water is the most important necessity for dragonflies to thrive in the nymph phase. It is so because the habitat for the larvae is water only. Moreover, their food source is available around water bodies only. However, if the dragonflies fail to get access to a water body as their habitat, or due to any reasons, if the larvae move out of the water body, then it gets impossible for dragonflies to survive. As a result, they fail to develop their bodies further for the adult stage and ultimately die. In this case, the lifespan of the dragonflies gets reduced to anywhere from 6 months to one year.

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Conclusion

Though there is not much nuisance caused by dragonflies, however, they can play a vital role in spreading infection, germs, and bacteria from one place to another. Thus, it is important to prevent the formation of colonies of dragonflies near your household areas. To do this, it is important to prevent the collection of water in your surroundings.

References

  1. https://journals.biologists.com/jeb/article-abstract/116/1/79/4921
  2. https://journals.biologists.com/jeb/article-abstract/137/1/221/5870
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