NEBRASKAland January/February 2014

Read the full issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. See stunning photographs of Nebraska outdoors.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/232542

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Page 40 of 55

think positively about dragonflies and damselflies. Dragonflies and damselflies begin their life in the water. Adult females lay their eggs in or near the water, or inserted into aquatic plants, depending on the species. The eggs hatch and the immatures, called naiads, begin to develop underwater. Naiads breathe underwater using modified gills located on their abdomen, which also help the naiad to move through the water quickly. They have a specialized hinged lower lip that they can quickly extend to capture prey. Naiads feed on insects, snails, tadpoles and even small fish. This immature life stage may last from as short as one month to up to several years. ABOVE: This is a female damselfly in the family Lestidae, collectively referred to as spreadingwing damselflies. LEFT: This female damselfly is a blue-form blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis). The females in this species also have a brown form. Dragonflies and damselflies undergo simple metamorphosis, meaning they have three life stages: egg, nymph (or naiad) and adult. Naiads will molt, or shed their skin, multiple times, growing larger and more mature with each molt. Just prior to their final molt, when they become adults, their gills cease to work, and they must surface. The naiad will crawl out of the JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 • NEBRASKAland 41

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