Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum)
Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum), female.

Not only has it been a season full of butterflies, but dragonflies are obviously having a big year too.

The larvae of all dragonflies, and the closely related damselflies, live an aquatic existence, so the full dams, swamps and springs have provided extensive breeding habitat. ‘Mud-eyes’, the developing dragonfly larvae, are aquatic predators, feeding on a variety of small and large organisms, including mosquito larvae, tadpoles and even small fish.

In turn, mud-eyes provide food for many different insectivores eg,  waterbirds, wading birds, fish and platypus. They are important parts of fresh-water ecosystems, but relatively little-known to most of us, other than freshwater ecologists and some keen anglers. That a mud-eye can develop into a dragonfly (as a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly or moth), is one of the wonders of nature.

Dragonflies are among the most primitive of winged insects. They and their ancestors have been around for more than 300 million years! Yet they are so successful at what they do, that the way they look and the way they function has hardly changed in that time.

Here are photos of a few of the many species of dragonfly  living in the Strathbogie Ranges.

Does anyone know the ID of the two species in the last four pics?