Dragonflies and damselflies are "cousins" in the order Odonata. They both begin life as an egg, hatching underwater. After at least a year in the water (up to 5 years, for some cold-climate species!), the larvae of both odes emerge, "unzip" their skins, and step out as adults. They unfurl their long tails and wings, pump them full of fluids, harden their exoskeletons, and fly off, to repeat the cycle. The colors are gorgeous and the behaviors are fascinating as these fierce predators dazzle us with their aerobatic stunts.
Prince baskettail adult & exuvia
The empty skin left behind when an adult emerged; the adult in this photo was found injured and never recovered.
Eclosing Arrow clubtail
Tiger spiketail, photo: Dale Ferland
This is the first recorded sighting of this species in Vermont!
Damselfly larvae, 2 species
Eastern forktail damselfly
Variable dancer damselfly
Mating pair of Variable dancers
Just emerging from its larval skin
Female Autumn meadowhawk