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Dragonfly Eclosure: A Vulnerable Time

newt eating dragonfly2 021Dragonfly larvae reside in ponds until the time comes for them to climb up stalks of emergent vegetation or adjacent rocks, split their larval skin and emerge as adults (a process called eclosure). Before it can take flight, a dragonfly has to cling to the substrate long enough to expand its wings by pumping fluid into them, and dry its exoskeleton as well as its wings. During this time the dragonfly is extremely vulnerable – not only can it not fly, but it is usually situated directly above the water. The slightest breeze can blow it from its precarious perch into the water below, where opportunistic predators such as this Eastern Newt are at the ready and make quick work of their helpless prey.

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4 responses

  1. dellwvt

    Oooo – very interesting. I’ve observed dragonfly nymphs, which can be pretty “ruthless” predators. I never thought about this vulnerable point in their life cycle.

    While I’m here, I have a totally unrelated question: do crows prey on baby birds in nests? Yesterday I heard a clamor of birds, and watched as several robins flew at a crow, which landed on a driveway with something moving in its claws, and proceeded to peck at it till it had killed it. I assume the prey was a baby robin?

    June 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    • Yes, crows are known for their habit of stealing eggs, nestlings and even fledgling birds…along with a lot of other things, including small mammals, grain, amphibians, reptiles, fruit, etc. A true omnivore!

      June 6, 2014 at 11:33 pm

  2. Linda willsoin

    Rooting for those dragonflies to survive and eat the bklack flies here in Maine.

    June 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm

  3. Great photo capture, Mary!

    June 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

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