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Somatochlora hineana

Lifecycle

 

Somatochlora hineana (Hine's Emerald), male flying on a territorial patrol, St. Ignace, Michagin, July 15, 2005
Courtesy of Glenn Corbiere 2005 Image not to be used without permission by the artist

The lifecycle of a Hine's emerald dragonfly begins when the female lays eggs, called ovipositing, into shallow waters.  S. hineana larvae are aquatic and approximately 25mm in length and light to dark brown when mature.  The larvae body is densely covered in setae (hair).  The larval stage is the longest lasting stage of the lifecycle, ranging from 2-4 years.  Larvae and possibly the eggs as well are able to overwinter.  As the larvae start to mature, metamorphosis begins.  When mature, the larvae crawls out of the water and attaches itself to a support (i.e. plant stem).  The larvae then exits its Dr. Everett D. Cashatt exoskeleton, leaving behind what is called an exuviae (Cashatt).  The new dragonfly (in its teneral stage) then extends its wings and waits to dry out.  The juvenile dragonfly is extremely vulnerable at this time.  Once dry, the juvenile begins to vibrate its wings and takes to the air in flight.  A juvenile S. hineana has brown or reddish eyes which begin to turn green after a few days.  As dragonflies age, not only do their eyes turn to emerald green, but the yellow thoracic stripes begin to fade to a cream colored, or even white in some old males; and the amber-tinted wings start to fade, becoming localized to the  Dr. Everett D. Cashattbase of the wings (Burton).  Dragonfly adults typically live 5-6 weeks (Cashatt).  When in their adult stage, these dragonflies are mainly concerned with food and mating.  Adult males spend a few days eating after emerging from their exuviae before moving back to their breeding grounds (Burton).  Once returned, they establish and defend breeding territories by hovering and darting over shallow pools of water.  As females approach, males pursue and mate with them.  The claspers of the male are used to grab onto the head of the female.  The male is then able to connect the second segment of his abdomen, which is where his sperm have been localized, to the eighth segment of the female's abdomen, which is where her eggs and ovary are located.  Then the sperm is transferred to the female and the female leaves to oviposit her eggs (Cashatt).
 

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