Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Because of all the rain lately it has been a great opportunity for Dragonflies to show off their mass-dispersal behaviour and move about much more easily in search of new watery homes. I found this one resting on a residential brick wall. As a beautiful carnivore on the move, the dragonfly adult observes its flying prey and flies rapidly to overtake and capture it within an aerial basket-net formed by its legs. Even as a junior, at the nymph stage while still living in water, it has a reputation for being ready to take on all comers, including next of kin, in search of a feed. It has a spring loaded set of pincers called a labium behind the mouth. When an unwary prey comes within striking distance, the labium is flung forward like a spring gun closing around the prey and is quickly drawn back into the mouth. They are indiscriminate feeders, as any small insect or worm will do, including hopefully lots of mosquito larvae. Larger nymphs may even have a go at the odd tadpole or fish.