Mortality during emergence was studied at an open drain in the city of Nagpur (central India). The total mortality rate (MR) was 10.92% (n = 686). Failure to moult (incomplete emergence state, MR = 4.8%) and failure to expand abdomen and harden wings for flight (complete emergence state, MR = 6.12%) were the two major reasons of mortality. The emerging dragonflies failed to moult and were found dead in the following conditions: cuticle of the thorax split and head and thorax of the pharate partly out of the exuviae (MR = 2.04%), head, thorax and wings out but the entire abdomen trapped in the exuviae (MR = 2.76%). After complete moulting some pharates were found floating, dead or completely exhausted in the water body. Some of the dead pharates had a curved telescopic abdomen and crumpled (MR = 0.44%), or stretched wings (MR = 2.33%), while others exhibited a straight, expanded abdomen and stretched overlapping (MR = 1.75%) or stretched spread wings (MR = 1.60%). Death due to overcrowding and predation was negligible. Statistical analysis revealed that mortality is independent of stage of emergence (P = 0.25).