Today I went to test a camera and check on what was happening at the pond. I had the great privilege of finding the first of the season had already emerged (leaving only a larval case or exuvia behind). The second proceeded to hatch in front of me and in a very obliging position for my camera. The pictures below are a sequence of this one individual dragonfly. Spanning four hours, the last was taken seconds before it flew away. Hopefully these are the first of many that will take to the air over the next two weeks.
*If you click on a picture you get them all in a larger gallery format (without the captions).
|Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) just out of the water and starting to moult|
|First the flight muscles break through and then the head begins to pull away|
|The head is now fully clear of the underwater shell|
|The top half of the body peels back, revealing the legs|
|Taking an upside down fresh air breather|
|The legs get pulled back in towards the body ready to swing upright. Wings still to be inflated.|
|After swinging up, the abdomen is released and the wings pumped up|
|Fluid is drained from the expanded wings and they harden|
|The wings open, flight muscles vibrate and the adult Emperor Dragonfly is ready for take off|