What is this? It’s dragon’s skin!
You might have noticed these odd looking “bugs” on grasses, branches or docks near the edge of water. Many people think that these are the left over bodies or skin of spiders but in fact those are of dragons - well, dragonflies to be precise. What you are seeing is the exoskeleton of an immature dragonfly. Immature dragonflies, called naiads, are actually aquatic. They spend their time in waterways eating zooplankton, other insects and even tadpoles. They have a specialized lower lip called a labium which act like “hands”. When these are deployed, they will rapidly capture small animals in front of them. Depending on the species, it can take between months to five years for a naiad to complete its development. Once it is ready to become an adult, it will climb out of the water then split its exoskeleton. As the adult files out of its “skin”, it will leave it attached to whatever surface it climbed on. So next time you see these “skins”, remember these are from dragons … flying about preying on blackflies and mosquitoes.