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Damselflies Hunting

6-12-13 damselfly eating prey2 147Damselflies, nature’s more delicate version of a dragonfly, spend most of their life underwater, first as an egg and then as a nymph. Eventually, after a year or so, they crawl out of the water onto nearby vegetation, shed their nymphal skin for the final time and emerge as winged adults. A damselfly’s beauty belies its behavior — most damselflies are voracious predators, both as aquatic nymphs as well as adults. In flight, they hold their bristly hind legs in a basket shape to scoop up their prey. The prey is then transferred to their front legs, which hold it while the damselfly devours it.

11 responses

  1. Time’s fun when you’re having flies….

    June 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

  2. Ned Jacoby

    Does anyone know the function of that long, stick-like abdomen with what looks like some sort of sensor at the end of it?

    June 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    • jini

      those are the claspers if a male for holding onto the female during the courtship process-they are species specific-the function of the long stick like abdomen is to balance the wings and contains the repro organs-the female has appendages, too-but for egg laying

      June 13, 2013 at 11:12 am

  3. Males grasp the female’s head/neck with the tip of their abdomen during copulation, and females lay eggs, which you probably know. Aerodynamically, it seems to work for dragonflies and damselflies! Different species of bluet damselflies have various coloring on their abdomen, which I don’t think (?) is related to its function.

    June 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm

  4. Penny March (ex VINS bander)

    Is the pictured insect a Blue-Fronted Dancer? A wonderful name-if so.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    • Hi Penny,
      I am not an expert, but my guess would be Eastern Forktail, Ischnura verticalis. Not quite as delightful a name!

      June 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      • jini

        yes, a forktail, not a bluet, but in the pond damsel family-a lovely iridescent creature

        June 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

  5. Mary, I regret that I am going to miss your talk on Saturday in Townsend. I have medical procedure done tomorrow and will need to rest so I have strength to do public speaking on Monday at an environmental program on making solitary bee nests at Gateway Park in Fitchburg, WI. Hope it is a big turnout.

    June 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    • So sorry to miss you, but thanks for even thinking of going! Hope you recuperate quickly!

      June 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      • Thanks Mary. I read your newsletter and pass good nuggets along.

        June 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm

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