Dragonfly Life Cycle Metamorphosis Books Lesson Plans and More

The Dragonfly Life Cycle

A Summary of the Dragonfly Life Cycle:
Female dragonflies typically lay their eggs in mud or they attach them to underwater plants in a pond, marsh, or stream. When an egg hatches, and depending on the species, the nymph stays underwater for one to six years. As it eats and grows, the nymph's skin becomes tight and splits open. Each time, though, the nymph crawls out wearing a new larger skin. When the nymph is finally ready to leave its underwater home, it will climb the stem of a plant or some other object until it emerges from the water. This often happens at night when hungry birds are asleep. The nymph clutches the stem and rests above the water. Its skin splits open. But this time, the nymph crawls out as a dragonfly with wings. This is the metamorphosis from a water dwelling nymph to an air-breathing adult. The morning sun warms the dragonfly. It breathes air and pumps blood through its body to straighten its wrinkled wings. Soon, it is time to fly and find shelter in tall weeds or trees. It may eventually look for a partner to help lay eggs, thus continuing the cycle of life after its body has finally died.


Summary Dragonfly Life Cycle and Metamorphosis

See each stage in the dragonfly's life cycle - Go to Stage 1 ...

Did you know there are stories that build on the dragonfly's life cycle and help teachers talk about life and death with students? These stories also help parents and grandparents talk about their religious beliefs with a child. For example, some parents will interpret the nymph's transformation into a dragonfly as an analogy to life after death.

Consider the nymph's perspective. It lives underwater for years and then one day it feels a natural urge to leave its underwater home. The nymph suddenly finds itself above the water in an entirely new world, transformed into a beautiful winged creature with the possibility of new life experiences. The young nymph may have had no way of anticipating these future events until it actually transformed into something else. Is this nature's way of giving us insight into what lies ahead?

If this sounds like an interesting discussion that you could have with a child, please see our book The Dragonfly Door. In fact, the dragonfly's life cycle that you just read was excerpted, in part, from the final pages of this book. Feather Rock Books, Inc., publishes The Dragonfly Door and its companion book The Dragonfly Secret.

The Dragonfly Door

Look Inside The Dragonfly Door

The Dragonfly Door explores the transformation of a water nymph into a beautiful dragonfly. This story about friendship, loss, and change was originally written to help parents express their views about life and death. Schools and communities have adapted The Dragonfly Door into theatrical performances to help children cope with the loss of their classmates.

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The Dragonfly Secret

Look Inside The Dragonfly Secret

The Dragonfly Secret is the story of a chance encounter between a boy and a dragonfly. Journey through a beautiful garden with the dragonfly in search of the boy’s secret. In the end, the secret is revealed, gently reminding readers that memories of a loved one are forever. The story encourages parents and children to discuss life’s infinite possibilities.

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Note: The Dragonfly Life Cycle Images on this and other web pages are adaptations from the final pages of The Dragonfly Door, written by John Adams, illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson, and published by Feather Rock Books. In the book, the text appears on the above image and differs from the adaptation on this and subsequent web pages.