Species Of The Week Number 43: Southern Hawker

This is levelling up in action. The 'Southern' Hawker has expanded its range northwards to Meanwood. Into my garden pond to be precise.

Two or three summers ago one must have turned up and laid its eggs in a bit of rotting wood. The eggs turned into nymphs and wandered around the bottom of the pond eating tadpoles and the like for a couple of years. This summer the mature nymphs have climbed the vegetation on a sunny day and emerged into glorious dragonflies, albeit in a process reminiscent of a scene from Alien. They leave behind the shell of the nymph which is called an exuviae - which is then only useful in Scrabble.

Despite their good looks dragonflies are carnivorous, catching other insects as they fly. There is a gruesome video of one eating a wasp on Wikipedia. Maximum flight speed is 34mph meaning they could theoretically overtake you on parts of Meanwood Road, assuming you are keeping to the speed limit.

Culturally people seem a bit unsure about dragonflies in general. Whilst appreciated for their colour and beauty the swedes think the devil uses them to weigh people's souls, and in Portugal they are known as eye-snatchers.

Some people in the USA have even developed a rather disturbing half-dragonfly half-robot creature which is a "living, slightly modified dragonfly that carries a small backpack of electronics. The backpack interfaces directly with the dragonfly’s nervous system to control it, and uses tiny solar panels to harvest enough energy to power itself without the need for batteries." Crazy

Publicado el 17 de julio de 2023 por clunym clunym


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