The term “nymph” in Biology refers to the immature state of some invertebrates, typically insects. They undergo simple metamorphosis and don’t go through a dormancy phase. A “labium” is a Latin word meaning “lip” and is also referred to as the lower lip of arthropods.
The term “nymph labium” is a descriptive term for an arthropod’s mouth part in its nymph phase. Samples of insects that go through the nymph stage include cockroaches, mayflies, dragonflies, and beetles. But, only dragonflies and damselflies have this distinctive mouthpart called “labium”.
What Does A Nymph Labium Look Like?
Have you seen a baby dragonfly? If you thought adult dragonflies were precise hunters, just wait until you see their dragon-looking offspring.
The labium of these creatures somewhat resembles a long arm that is kept folded underneath their head. It also calls to mind the tongue-like appendage which snaps out and is seen in the “Alien” movies. Also referred to as the “killer lip” by biologists, it comes in two shapes. For nymphs that will develop into skimmer dragonflies, the labium is shaped comparably to a spork.
How Do Nymphs Eat?
Nymphs have near-adult dragonfly precision when it comes to eyesight. When they see something they want to eat, they shoot out a mouthpart called a labium to catch their prey and bring it back to their mouths.
The next time you’re lucky enough to witness a dragonfly in its nymph stage, take a closer look at its mouthparts. You’ll notice that this strange-looking lip is actually quite an important hunting tool! We hope you learned something new about these fascinating creatures today.