Key to Families of Australian Aquatic Odonate Larvae

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) occur in all types of inland water except saline lakes. The adults are winged and can be found near their breeding sites or else (in some species) far from water. The larvae, with one or two exceptions, are fully aquatic. The larval stage lasts from a few weeks to several years, depending on species. All Odonata are predatory in all life stages.

Species numbers usually are greatest where there is a variety of larval habitat. A mosaic of stones, mud, and sand with a complex emergent vegetation yields the greatest range. Some families occur across a wide range of larval habitat but others are restricted, eg to streams and torrents, to still or gently flowing water or to bogs, swamps and seepages. Seventeen families are recorded from Australia. One family, several subfamilies, about 60% of genera and 80% of species are endemic.

Key Author(s): CSIRO Entomology Key Version: 1.1