[Odonata-l] Dragonfly life span

Richard Rowe Richard.Rowe@jcu.edu.au
Thu, 19 Jun 2003 08:55:20 +1000

At 15:43 13/06/03 -0500, you wrote:
>How long do dragonflies live???

Good question.

Larvae may exist for a few months (I think around 40 days is the lower 
record) to many years.  We guess that larval Uropetala chiltoni may take 10 
years to develop at Cass field station in the upland region of New 
Zealand's South Island ... but this is from burrow censusing, and the 
census lasted about 4 years.

Adults ... who knows.  Most temperate species last less than a 
month.  Lestids tend to last longer, in Europe some Sympecma hibernate for 
the winter; in Japan a Lestes species emerges in spring, goes up the 
mountains for summer, and returns to its natal area to breed in autumn.

Ola Fincke has given you a Megaloprepus date.  I have been given a longer 
date for another New World tropical damselfly species, but this is someone 
else's as yet unpublished observation and I got it second hand.

In Australia we have species in the inland which operate as adults from the 
end of one wet season to pools filling at the beginning of the next (~ 8 
months).  These are aeshnids which live in the mouths of caves and seem to 
operate crepuscularly (very few observations are made in these areas, 
mainly fortuitous collections from people who spot a cave and use it as a 
shaded shelter 'and there was this dragonfly'),

Richard Rowe
Senior Lecturer
Department of Zoology and Tropical Ecology, James Cook University
Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
fax (61)7 47 25 1570
phone (61)7 47 81 4851
e-mail: Richard.Rowe@jcu.edu.au