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Dragonfly Larvae

Final-stage larvae sit in shallow water near the margins for several days, getting ready for their final moult and starting to breathe air. Most species leave the water during the morning.
Larvae climb up robust emergent vegetation, although some may walk several metres over dry land before finding somewhere suitable. After finding a secure support, they redistribute their body fluids – first to push the thorax, head, legs and wings out of the larval skin. There is then a pause of about 30 minutes to allow their legs to harden enough for the next stage, when the abdomen is withdrawn. The wings and then the abdomen are expanded and start to harden. This process leaves behind a cast skin, called an exuvia, and lasts for between one hour (in the case of damselflies) and three hours (in the case of dragonflies).

(Text borrowed from Britains Dragonflies by Dave Smallshire and Andy Walsh

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