Ode Predation

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Fri Sep 18 13:30:36 EDT 1998

I'd like to share another fascinating observation while hunting and
exploring near Laredo, TX last weekend:

I was trying to capture a Phoebis agarithe (Large Orange Sulpher), which,
although extremely common, flew as singletons very rapidly and were not as
likely to rest or nectar.  At one particular stop, after trying in vain to
net one, I noticed out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be a large
dragonfly flying and carrying something large and orange.  I saw it
disappear into the shrubs, and so I stalked quietly to see if I could find
where it had landed.  After looking for some time, I suddenly beheld the Ode
sitting on a low branch with an unlucky P. agarithe under it's legs.  Then I
watched as the dragonfly proceeded to devour the head, body, and thorax with
quick and repeated chomping.  
The dragonfly appeared to me to be a Darner, but I'm not very good at id'ing
them (help?).  It was very large, with a green head and thorax, and a very
blue body with black segmenting.  It was stunning, and I considered
capturing it after it had finished it's meal, but I just didn't feel like
it.  While it was eating, I was able to actually get right up next to it (I
even pulled the branch away for an even closer look, and the thing was not
interrupted).  I've never seen such a sight before, and I guess didn't even
realize that the dragonflies (which are always present when I'm hunting)
were actually chasing the same butterflies that I was.
So very, very cool and once again I was very bummed that I was not equipped
for photographing.  This guy would have accomodated me nicely.
Mark Walker.

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