Uropetala carovei

With some specimens approaching 100mm long, this is New Zealand’s largest dragonfly. They are mostly black with pale yellow markings. This may serve as a kind of disruptive camouflage, breaking up the outline of the insect when in flight.

These dragonflies take their prey on the wing, seizing it after a quick burst of speed, before landing and consuming it in a leisurely fashion. They can take quite large insects including bumblebees and butterflies. A male giant bush dragonfly maintains a territory near breeding sites in forest or scrub, and aggressively patrols it against interlopers. It will not hesitate to engage in a winged wrestling match should it encounter a rival.

The larval stage, known as a naiad, usually lives in burrow in a seepage or a stream bank in shaded forest habitat.  The naiad stage may last around five years before the insect matures and emerges as a winged adult. Naiads are every bit as predatory as the adult stage, emerging at night to hunt.

This dragonfly is an endemic species. It is found throughout the North Island as well as the western South Island.

Check these links for more info on the Giant Dragonfly in NZ

iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Uropetala carovei

Wikipedia: Information on Uropetala carovei

Radio New Zealand (Our Changing World): Dragonflies – masters of flight


Click on the image to visit the official observation.

iNaturalist.nz image © whareamaschool
iNaturalist image © geoffrey-marshall

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