Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator Leach, 1815 (Odonata, Aeshnidae) taking Peacock Butterfly Inachis io (L., 1758) (Lep., Nymphalidae) in flight
P.F. Whitehead, Moor Leys, Little Comberton, Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 3EH Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is well-known that dragonflies of the genus Anax are able to capture larger insects in flight, including other dragonflies (Longfield, 1937) and some relatively large insects (Askew, 1988) although this is perhaps seldom observed.
On a warm 26 July 2013 at Wick Worcestershire (SO94 23 m O.D.) I observed two Emperor Dragonflies coursing across a weedy field. Without any reduction in speed one of these caught a Peacock butterfly flying at a height of some three metres which was later consumed in low herbage (01).
Askew, R.R., 1988. The dragonflies of Europe. pp. 1-291. Harley Books, Colchester.
Longfield, C., 1937. The dragonflies of the British Isles. pp. 1-220. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd, London and New York.
01. Female Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator consuming Peacock Butterfly Inachis io Wick Worcestershire 26 July 2013. P.F. Whitehead.