After getting back from Westbere Lakes after some pond dipping, I spent a while yesterday cleaning out the tanks and observing what was going on throughout the day and it wasn't until late afternoon whilst having a watch, that I witnessed the event of a Hairy Dragonfly hunting a damselfly nymph. I have been supplementary feeding them bits of worm which they seem to like but also in the tanks are various other bits of insect life from bloodworm through to damselfly nymphs. From my observations so far, the Hairy Dragonfly nymphs are mostly active during the hours of darkness but if something passes them by quite close, they will often be tempted to have a go at it. My observations have also seen that they prefer to hunt from hanging on the underside of twigs etc and seem to have a better success rate at this. Whilst watching yesterday, an Azure Damselfly nymph was sitting on top of the branch and it had been sat there quite motionless for some while. Although this is not my photography tank, I try where possible to get photos when the chance arises so within a few minutes, I had the camera on the tripod and was in position to take a number of photos. Occasionally the damselfly nymph would wave its caudal lamellae, almost communicating with other nymphs nearby but it could have been this action which resulted in its last moments of life. As I was taking a number of photos of the damselfly nymph, a Hairy Dragonfly nymph was slowly making its way underneath the branch until it was almost directly underneath the damselfly nymph. It was clearly hunting and very slowly started to move around the branch. At this point the nymph probably felt the legs of the Hairy Dragonfly nymph touching its own legs so started to move around the other side of the branch. They both stayed motionless for what seemed an age before the Hairy Dragonfly nymph moved back round and within a split second, had struck out its labial mask and had the damselfly nymph caught in its labial palps. Although a little gruesome to watch, I fired off a selection of photos as the Hairy Dragonfly nymph soon consumed its prey, the only part not eaten seemed to be the wings. It made short work of the damselfly nymph before having a clean up and resumed its resting position. A short while later another damselfly nymph proceeded to walk down the same branch and stop immediately above the Hairy Dragonfly nymph but thankfully, this time, there was no attempt to catch it but a brilliant photo opportunity for me of both of them unaware of each other was taken which I shall post in the next few days.
Hairy Dragonfly Nymph