Definition: The period when the adult insect is newly emerged from the pupal case or nymphal skin. During the teneral period, the insect's exoskeleton has not hardened or darkened, leaving it vulnerable. The term comes from the Latin tener, meaning soft, young, and tender. Provided by about.com
We observed a large number of odonates emerging as we paddled the pond on Friday. They are so very vulnerable in this stage. Birds feast on them, the wind can blow them into the water where they drown...seems as if disaster is just waiting to strike. But what a miraculous thing to behold!