Emergence of Cordulia aenea

I took advantage of a beautiful warm and sunny spring Sunday and drove to the lakes at Sebberup.

Turned out I was not the only one making good use of the nice weather. At one of the lakes several Cordulia aenea were emerging, making the transition from larva to adult dragonfly. This transformation is a fantastic process to watch.

The dragonfly breaks out of its larval exoskeleton like a small alien-looking creature. Its body and wings are compressed, soft and sort of colorless. For a while it hangs arched backwards from its unreleased abdomen until it pulls its abdomen free. Slowly the abdomen extends and the wings unfurl as they fill with blood. It takes a while for the body to harden and gain its color, and for the wings dry. When complete, it starts vibrating the wings and warm up the flight muscles before its first takeoff as a fully emerged dragonfly.

I managed to photograph this process and also got some good shots of other fully emerged Cordulia aenea, which have been added to the photo gallery.