Sunday, 22 July 2018

Did Penni ischnur her cnemisis? To prey or not to prey... that is but Nature... raw in tooth or mandible!!

I was strolling round our watermeadow, early doors...
looking for interesting pictures of the wildlife...
when this scene occurred in front of me...
I was just about to take a picture of the "Pea Penny-pipes" when it was pounced upon by this Blue-tailed Damselfly...



Quite a tussle occured until, very suddenly the Blue Featherlegs stopped resisting...



....and she crawled forwards onto a dead plant... where I could see through the viewfinder what was happening.



The reason Pennipipes had suddenly become subdued was very clear... the female Common Bluetail that attacked her had chewed through the thorax and consumed her flight muscles!



You can see from the side shot here that her thorax has been chewed from start to finish...



...and that was enough for the smaller damselfly... who, having fatally crippled the Featherlegs... went off and rested just above on a dying nettle!!



I moved Penny Featherlegs to a wild carrot flowerhead where she would be more visible to predators... doubting that the Common Bluetail would be back for more.




and this final photo is a close-up I took before leaving, which shows the extent of the damage.




Sorry, Nature isn't nice and twee.... it is nasty... but with beautiful moments!
Given the number of warblers we have here...
and the swallows, tits, wolf spiders, big bushcrickets...
and my favourites... the huge wasp spiders... carnivores all...
the Bluetail itself could have bought it by the end of the day!!
Even sparrows and other seed eaters hunt insects at this time of the year....
to feed their growing young.

This whole episode lasted... taken from the time of the photos...
09:54 18 - First shot - pounced a few seconds earlier.
09:54 44 - 26 seconds to cripple her.
09:56 24 - Finished meal in 2 minutes & 6 seconds!

The protagonists... or the diner and her meal are...
Common Bluetail / Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) l'Agrion élégant  [female]....
Blue Featherleg / White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes) l'Agrion à larges pattes [immature female]
all taking place in our water meadow / flood plain of the Aigronne River.

And no apologies for the title!