Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Bush dragonfly ( Petaluridae : Uropetala )

Diagnostic features

Uropetala is a large dragonfly having a large larva with a long abdomen. The larvae appear heavily armoured (though without spines) and the legs are very hairy. The labial palps (jaw-like structures used to grab prey) lie flat under the head when at rest.

Typical habitats

Uropetala larvae are rarely recorded because they burrow into the mud of wetland margins – habitats that are rarely sampled.


They are predators, feeding on other stream invertebrates.

Indicator value

Uropetala are inhabitants of wetlands rather than streams and they probably have little value as water quality indicators. They have medium to low tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 0.4 (soft bottom sites).