A couple of weeks ago (June 22) I wrote about dragonflies as super-predators, based on their unique adaptations for successful “search and capture”. However, I think we under-estimate what these super-predators are capable of — i.e., predation on other predators.
Following what sounded like dragonfly wing buzzing in the grass at my feet, I spied two of them engaged in a tussle. A Horned Clubtail had grabbed a female 12-spotted Skimmer by the back of her head and was proceeding to eat it! I couldn’t see very well through the thick grass, but attempted to photograph what was going on anyway. I could hear the munching, though, as the Clubtail crunched through the Skimmer’s exoskeleton.
The Clubtail flew off when I finally got too inquisitive poking around in the grass, and this is what was left of the Skimmer.
The Horned Clubtail will apparently eat whatever it can catch. There are reports of Midland Clubtails eating other dragonflies, but I didn’t find this behavior described for the Horned Clubtail.
Horned Clubtails actually lack the swollen club present in the terminal segments of the abdomen on other clubtail species, and they carry a couple of wicked looking cow horns with which they hold the female in copulatory flight. ouch!
This kind of predatory behavior certainly puts these guys on the top of the pond food chain.