Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (female, predator/prey)

The following Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) was spotted toward the end of a long photowalk at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 September 2014. This individual is a female, as indicated by its green coloration and white terminal appendages.

Like many species of dragonflies in the Skimmer family, the Eastern Pondhawk usually perches on four of six legs, with the two front legs curled around its head. I noticed the pondhawk’s front legs moving in front of its face and guessed correctly the dragonfly was eating some type of prey.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (female, eating prey)

Voracious predator, especially females, eating odonates of all kinds their own size and smaller, … Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 10223-10224). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Dragonflies use their front legs like a “basket” to catch prey in mid-air. Look closely at the full-size version of the following photo, showing the female eating a winged insect cradled in her front legs, possibly either a bumble bee or carpenter bee.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (female, eating prey)

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Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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