Monday, 26 October 2009

A Robber Fly

I was parking the car when I noticed an insect perched on a twig among the plants at home.  At first glimpse, my first thought, of course, was... "Another dragonfly!"

But it was not to be. 

It was some other insect and a strange looking one at that.  I realised it only after I got out of the car and got closer to have a look and saw that the head, compound eyes and wings are different from those of the dragonfly.



Curious as I was to have a good look and figure out what it is, I skirted around to get a frontal view.  From what I saw, I thought it was rather beastly looking.  I did not manage to get a good shot but looking at these pictures would give you an idea why I had those thoughts.



I have since found out that it is a Robber Fly, of the family Asilidae, and it is an aerial predator capable of immobilizing bees, wasps and other insects larger than itself.  According to Wikipedia, these robber flies attack and feed on other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, ants, dragonflies, damselflies, some wasps, grasshoppers and some spiders.

Urrgghh!  I should dislike this insect and hate it for preying on dragonflies and damselflies!  I hope it did not just make a meal of the immature dragonflies that have been visiting me?  Is that why this guy is here?

But, know what? 

What is there to hate about this robber fly or any other insect or another creepy crawly or some other creature?  If anything at all, it should be all these other creatures hating man!

Yet they don't.

When you look at things in perspective, human beings are the largest predators of all.  It is us that have driven so many other creatures to extinction from our actions.  For these creatures, their instincts are for the survival of the species and the way it is with nature, things are kept in balance in the entire ecosystem until man intervenes.

For the majority of man, most "hunts" these days are to fulfil a want rather than merely to feed a need.  And in so many cases, it is always the want for more of everything to feed the greed of man.  And all for the sake of money and power.

It is never enough.  It is endless.

When will we stop hunting the species of the world to death?  When will we stop depleting our oceans and stop destroying our forests before they are all gone?  When will we stop the rampage and stop robbing earth?

We should appreciate nature for what it is.  We should care for what we have before it is all lost.

Each and every one of us should pledge to make conscious choices every day towards sustainable living.  Start today.  It doesn't take much to do that, does it?



Friday, 23 October 2009

Is This Funny?

Here's an interesting photo to share... 

Caught this pair of Ischnura senegalensis in the act recently.



Initially, I couldn't figure out what it was exactly that was going on as the first thing I noticed was the three sets of wings, meaning three damselflies.  Yet I could see the wheel position very clearly so what is that third damselfly doing?

Have a closer look here...



Seems like the female damselfly caught her food while within the male territory but before she could finish devouring her meal, the male damselfly caught up with her.  So here is the pair of them in wheel position with her half-eaten prey sticking out her mandibles!

And, yes, apart from mosquitoes and other flying insects, they do eat their own kind too.  It looks like this female Ischnura senegalensis had caught an Agriocnemis femina for lunch!  Or maybe it is an immature damselfly of the same species?

I can't decide... is this funny or what?



Monday, 5 October 2009

Blue Is Cool And Calming

Hard to believe it is early October already.  I suppose it is true that time seems to fly when you are busy or when you are having a good time.

Or when you are caught up with everything else in the world...

When too many things are happening around you at the same time and you get caught up in an endless game of catch, it can feel like you are just running and running and running and everything else becomes a blur around you except what you see directly in front of you.

And now that the running has stopped, I have looked around me and reoriented myself, I am playing catch up with these beautiful dragonflies again.  I have missed them!



This blue dragonfly with its big blue eyes is the adult male of the Acisoma panorpoides of the family Libellulidae.  Talk about staring into blue eyes!  

It is indeed another amazing looking little creature.  And, after all, blue is a cool colour! 



This male Acisoma panorpoides has hindwing length of 22mm.  This species can be easily recognised by the unique shape of its abdomen and the intricate patterns on its thorax.  They are found in open, often disturbed habitats and is widespread in tropical Asia.

Although a common species, it is not easy to spot these dragonflies as they often perch rather inconspicuously among vegetation in grassy swamps or padi fields.  It has certainly taken me quite a few months to keep looking for them and finally get a few good shots.



The female of this species has light yellow, sometimes greenish, colouring, with hindwing length of 24mm.  As you can see, she does not have the blue eyes like those of the male and it is greenish instead, but its markings and the shape of its abdomen are both unmistakable features to identify this species.



And here is a young, immature dragonfly of the same species, possibly a male judging by its colour, though he is yet to develop the full colours of the adult.  Even without the big blue eyes, it is a nice looking face staring back at you.