Saturday, July 21, 2012

From a mouthful for a damselfly to a mouthful of same

Midge mouthful for a neon damsel at rest
John Acorn calls them "flying neon toothpicks in the grass" and small flying insects probably call them names unsuitable for a family blog, but Jonathan Neal at the Living with Insects Blog points out that damselflies often "fall victim to larger predators".
Hairy Woodpecker with a mouthful of young damsels
A bit of observation on a sunny day near any lake or pond demonstrates that this is certainly true. So why call attention to themselves with bold displays of contrasting colours?
Come get me or Can't see me?
Neal makes some interesting points on this that I had never thought about: damselflies are not all that obvious to visual predators. They perch where their long narrow bodies blend in, e.g. on grasses and twigs. The gossamer wings allow light to penetrate and the background to show through. And the dotted patterns tend to break-up the outline of the damselfly.
A twig or a meal?  
Something to think about on yet another rainy Edmonton weekend.

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