Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus)

The largest of the clubtails, the boldly colored Dragonhunter is a specialist at preying on other dragonflies as well as moths and butterflies.

This male measured 85 mm in length. In addition to its large size, the massive thorax and long back legs make this dragonfly easy to identify in the field. The larva is also distinctive, as seen in this sequence of images of a Dragonhunter naiad undergoing its final molt and making the transformation to adulthood.

As a rule dragonflies aren't very docile and co-operative but this one was suffering from a hangover as a result of a collision with a vehicle.

A closeup of those beautiful translucent green eyes ...

... and a detail shot of the terminal abdominal segments. As their binomial name suggests, Hagenius brevistylus males have small claspers. The claspers aren't necessary to identify this dragonfly as its other physical attributes are so conspicuous that there's little chance of mistaking it for another species.