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What are immature dragonflies called?
Answer – Naiads – As adults, dragonflies are known for their aerial acrobatics but as juveniles, they live a very different lifestyle. These wingless larvae, known as naiads, are among the most savage small predators in freshwater ecosystems. Lurking in aquatic vegetation and detritus, dragonfly naiads prey on all manner of organisms, from worms and beetles to tadpoles and small fish. Naiads capture their meals using a pincer-like organ known as a labium which rapidly extends from its position beneath the body and grabs hold, allowing them to immobilize the unfortunate creatures as they are consumed. They absorb oxygen from the water through gills located in their hind ends and can move by expelling water from this organ in a phenomenon known as jet propulsion. When the time comes for metamorphosis, these homely larvae climb onto plants or twigs protruding from the water’s surface and shed their skins, emerging as shimmering winged adults.:
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