Flying frog attacks dragonfly (revised)

The following short video clip shows a female Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) ovipositing eggs in the wetlands at Huntley Meadows Park on 24 July 2011. A male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly is patroling the area to protect the female from other males (“hover guarding”).

Suddenly, an American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) attacks the female dragonfly!

Question is, did the dragonfly survive the attack by the frog? The following time series of 10 still photos provides the answer.

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Watching the second video in real-time, it looks like a close call for the dragonfly — was she safe or out (game over)? Looking at an “instant replay” of the preceding time-series of still photos (shown below), it’s clear the frog missed “tagging” the dragonfly by a wide margin. For those of you scoring at home, the box score for the game of life looks like this: Dragonflies 1; Frogs 0.

The following photo gallery features annotated versions of the same time series of 10 still photos: the frog is highlighted in green (when necessary); the dragonfly is highlighted in blue.

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So what’s the life lesson learned from witnessing this extraordinary event? From an evolutionary viewpoint (i.e., survival of the fittest), it pays to have compound eyes that see in almost all directions as well as amazing aerobatic skills!

Tech Tips: Apple “Aperture” was used to save the preceding JPEG photos as still frames from the second video clip (GPS info copied from the video clip metadata to the JPEG photos). Apple “Preview” was used to annotate the second gallery featuring a time-series of 10 still photos.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Flying frog attacks dragonfly (revised)”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Great use of instant replay–the circles really helped (I was focused so much on the flying frog that I didn’t pay enough attention to the dragonfly).

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