Sunday, December 12, 2010

King of the Dragons

The largest and most fearsome dragonfly that we have around here is the dragonhunter. The dragonhunter is a member of the Gomphidae (clubtail) family and has the genus Hagenius all to itself. Its closest cousins are found in Asia and are members of the Sieboldius genus.
At approximately 3.3 inches long it is the largest dragonfly in North America. Because of its large size it is able to take prey larger then other dragonflies. Other large dragonflies, including darners and other clubtails, often fall prey to dragonhunters which typically ambush from above. Even insects like milkweed butterflies, that are toxic to most insects, are not immune to becoming the dragonhunters next meal.
Like most dragonflies the dragonhunter spends the majority of its life as an aquatic nymph. The dragonhunter nymph is different from most other clubtail nymph. Its shape is wide and flat and it spends most of its time camouflaged in leaf litter, rather then burying itself in the sandy bottom like most clubtail nymphs. The dragonhunter will spend around seven years in the water before it is ready to morph into its adult dragon form.

12 comments:

McGillicutty said...

I love these.. I tried all summer to get some great dragonflies but alas none as good as these thanks for sharing.

LauraX said...

those wings are exquisite...delicate and powerful...a perfect balance for flight (and living in general).

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

I had to spend an entire semester in college studing dragonflies. They are so interesting.

KaHolly said...

Wow, 7 years? That's amazing. Is that longer than most other dragonflies? Sounds like such a long time. I had no idea! Sounds pretty formidable.

Karen said...

Fantastic photos. I love dragonflies.

Kala said...

Lovely light and details in those translucent wings.

Barb said...

What a beauty!

Nikki . said...

Wonderful photos of the dragonfly... love the detail in the wings...

Kristin said...

It's so beautiful and very detail. Fascinating creatures.

Have a nice day.

Randy Emmitt said...

Nice post! A few years ago I saw a Dragonhunter take another Dragonhunter, they are cannibals.

Artlover said...

Great pictures with good contrast on the dragonfly. The top two in which the background is neutral is the best, where the insect appears best.

Maaike said...

a great king!