Like other dragonfly species, the yellow club-tailed dragonfly has a complex lifecycle which includes a fully aquatic larval stage (2). As larvae or ‘nymphs’, dragonflies are effective sit-and-wait predators with the fascinating feature of being able to fire out the lower portion of the mouth, known as the ‘mask’, in order to grasp passing prey (2) (6). As well as being able to walk, dragonfly larvae are able to move through the water by jet propulsion, expelling water from a specialised rectal chamber to propel themselves along (2).
The total length of time spent in the larval stage varies between dragonfly species, with some species spending a few months and others several years as a larva (2). The larva undergoes several moults before finally emerging from the water as the readily recognisable adult dragonfly (2) (6). The yellow club-tailed dragonfly emerges in June and July, and the flying season of the adult dragonfly lasts until late August (5). Dragonflies are skilled aerial predators, typically feeding on small insects caught on the wing (2) (6).
After maturing, the male yellow club-tailed dragonfly can be found at the edge of rivers, where it tends to rest on exposed gravel banks, large stones or dirt roads in wait for females with which to mate. Reproduction in dragonflies generally involves very little courtship behaviour, and begins with the male grasping the female by the back of the head with claspers at the tip of the abdomen (2). Mating in the yellow club-tailed dragonfly takes up to an hour, and the female then lays the eggs in relatively still areas of water (5).