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Compared to the Butterflies, Dragonflies are having a good year. Hawkers, Chasers, their grace and the carnage they cause

August 14, 2012

One flying insect group that is showing well this year are the Dragonflies. Yesterday evening a splendid Southern Hawker patrolled the Street near Common Lane and the railway line is graced with a number of other varieties. The Wide Bodied Chaser is a particular favourite. Dragonflies names mainly concentrate on the subjects hunting methods. “They do what they say on the tin”, so to speak.

A couple of years ago we watched many species as they gathered to catch a prolific outpouring of flying ants from their nests in the railway cutting. The action was brutal, graceful and mesmerising all at the same time. We sat entranced as the hunters gathered around the emerging prey, the action probably continued on into the evening after we had moved on. But only for that day, at that temperature and at that point in the ant colony’s life cycle. Thankfully some of the emerging flying ants did get away. Either the perfect aerial hunting insect has some weaknesses or they were satiated. Nature has ways of balancing the odds.

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