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December 06, 2016
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Dining with damselflies

A close view of this ebony jewelwing reveals its spiny legs; the spines help to capture and hold prey until it can be consumed. The deep azure blue color indicates that this is a male.

July 26, 2012

Among the more enjoyable activities of summer are things like swimming in a nearby lake or river and enjoying a picnic under the trees. If you take a close look at the shoreline, however, you may see some snack-grabbing activity going on besides hamburgers and coleslaw.
Damselflies and their cousins in the odonata family, the dragonflies, are busily buzzing around the shoreline this time of year as they engage in courtship and breeding for the next generation of odonates. All of this family of insects has superb flying skills; they can go from a hover to full horizontal or vertical speed in a fraction of a second. All of this flying builds up an appetite.
With its superb flying ability and vision, a damselfly can snatch an insect out of mid-air, where it will then find a convenient perch and eat its prey. It is to our benefit that they dine in this manner; much of their diet consists of mosquitoes, gnats, “no-see-ums” and other nuisance bugs that would otherwise detract from our dining experience near nature’s aquatic habitat. Bon appetit!