Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Voracious Predator

A cloudless, azure sky drapes the Llano Estacado from horizon to horizon. Cooper and I stretch and then amble into the prairie. Steady southwesterly winds carry 73°F temperatures and hints of monsoonal moisture. The luster of dragonfly wings lights up the skeletons tips of yucca stalks. It seems each has a favorite perch. Variegated Meadowhawks launch, hover, fly backwards, dart right and left, and return to their vantage point. Their dance is both elegant and beautiful. The rest of the story may surprise you.

Dragonflies rule their insect domain. Their aesthetically pleasing sorties into the morning air belie the true nature of this killing machine, this voracious predator. A dragonfly can devour amounts of prey equal to its own weight in thirty minutes Gnats, bees, flies, mosquitos, termites, ants, butterflies, and other flying insects are on the menu. This winged predator easily outmaneuvers and out-flies airborne prey and plucks them out of the air. Very few insects can evade the basket-shaped grabbing limbs. The dragonfly’s predisposition to hunt banes of human existence, such as mosquitos and flies, makes it a welcome guest in back yard gardens.

Let’s resurrect one of these winged carnivores from the 300-million-year-old fossil record of the Carboniferous Period--behold Meganeura. Imagine yourself face-to-face with the insect described above. Except this specimen hovers on more than two-and-a-half feet of glistening wingspan.

© Ilija Lukić 2011

Voracious Predator

Wind Gust

Eyes Of The Hunter

Dragonfly Perch

Meganeura Reborn

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