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Taxonomic group

Aeshnidae: Aeshna

Diagnostic features

Aeshna dragonfly larvae have a long abdomen, large eyes and the mouthparts lie flat under the head. There are spines on the sides of the last 4 abdominal segments.

Typical habitats

Aeshna larvae are often found amongst submerged vegetation in wetlands, ponds and lakes throughout New Zealand.


They are predators, ambushing invertebrate prey swimming or crawling though aquatic vegetation.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: 1.4

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Aeshna are usually found in wetlands and may not be useful indicators of stream water quality. Their ability to live in wetlands may reflect an ability to tolerate low levels of dissolved oxygen. They have tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 1.4 (soft bottom sites).