How to Take Care of Dragonfly Nymphs (Yago)

Dragonfly, Yago/Tombo
Dragonfly // Photo by Peter Rosbjerg

From fall to winter, dragonflies will often lay eggs in unused pools or still ponds. The eggs will hatch and become dragonfly nymphs in spring and in June or July, the nymphs (yago) will become dragonflies.

Although less popular than rhinoceros beetles or stag beetles as pets in Japan, it is not unheard of to raise dragonfly nymphs. Dragonfly nymphs are known as yago in Japanese.

Watching a dragonfly grow into an adult can be an interesting and unique experience.

I’ve gleaned these tips from searching internet in Japanese, so I am by no means an expert. Therefore, I recommend that you check out other sites and resources. Make sure you have the complete picture of how to provide the best care for these wonderful insects.

Materials for Dragonfly Naiad/Nymph (Yago) Care

  • Net — used to catch the nymph (yago). Also, you can use the same one or a smaller one to take uneaten food out of the aquarium.
  • Grass — the dragonfly nymphs don’t like to be carried around, especially if the carrying container just has water. Thus, put in some water-plants with the water when you are carrying the nymph home. Also, be sure to place grass/water-plants in the aquarium too.
  • Bug case — just a normal aquarium.
  • Filtration system — only necessary if you have a rather small aquarium. Just a normal type of filter used with many types of fish.
  • Food — dragonfly nymphs eat living food such as killifish (medaka in Japanese) and fishing bait worms (akamushi in Japanese). These can typically be acquired at pet shops or, more likely, fishing shops. The nymphs also eat baby earthworms (grown earthworms are too big), tadpoles, water fleas, and mosquito larva.
  • Stick — the pole must stick out of the water, with 10 cm (3.9 inches) of it above the surface. The dragonfly nymph will use this stick to emerge as an adult.

Instructions for Dragonfly Naiad/Nymph (Yago) Care

Finding Dragonfly Nymphs (Yago)

Dragonflies aren’t readily available for sale, so many people who raise them acquire them while helping clean pools and ponds. Thus, first, find a likely place where there may be nymphs, such as an unused pool, still pond, muddy rice field, or stream. The nymphs are easiest to find from May through July. You can use a net to catch the nymph.

Bringing the Dragonfly Nymph (Yago) Home

See the websites below for pictures, but once you’ve found one, put it in a container (a bucket is fine) and carry it quietly home. Since the nymphs get “seasickness” if they are carried around in just water, put wet grass, preferably a water plant/grass, in with the water.

Dragonfly Aquarium Tips

When you get home, be sure to place the dragonfly nymph in a prepared aquarium within 24 hours. The aquarium should have 4-5 centimeters (1.6 inches to 2 inches) of rocks in the bottom. Also, make sure there is grass/water-plants and a stick that comes out of the water in the aquarium.

If the aquarium is fairly small, install an air filtration system. This isn’t necessary if the aquarium is big, but it’s still a good idea.

Since the nymphs typically live in dirty water, don’t worry too much about changing water. It may be a good idea to change it once every two weeks or so, though. This is especially true if you are keeping the aquarium in the house. The water will probably begin to stink, particularly if there’s any left over food.

6. Dragonfly nymphs don’t like the heat. Thus, make sure the water they are in doesn’t go above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

Feeding the Dragonfly Nymph (Yago)

Feed the nymphs a little bit each day. Living food is highly recommended (and probably necessary). Use a net to take out uneaten food. Be sure to feed them not too much (the water will get dirty), but also not too little (the nymphs will die, or, if there is more than one nymph in the aquarium, they will eat each other!)

If the dragonfly nymph isn’t eating much, that probably means that they are almost ready to become a dragonfly. Make sure you’ve placed a stick in the aquarium which sticks out about 10 cm (3.9 inches) from the surface of the water. The nymph will climb up this stick to emerge as a dragonfly.

Releasing the Adult Dragonfly

Once the dragonfly has emerged as an adult and its wings are dry, be sure to release it outside. Since dragonflies prefer to fly around and catch their own food, it isn’t practical to keep an adult as a pet.

Enjoy having observed this fascinating insect grow up and congratulate yourself!


I’m not an expert on dragonflies — all of the information here was gathered from the below sources.


Yago o sodateru

Yago no kaikata, sodatekata

Yago no kaikata, yago no esa

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