What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cicada Killer Carnage!
Location: Milton, DE
August 7, 2011 9:34 pm
Hello again Bugman!!
On our recent vacation to Delaware, we also were lucky enough to catch this awesome bug on bug carnage, which we think is a Cicada Killer making a meal of a dragon fly. We also took some video of it since my boyfriend thinks these bugs are absolutely awesome. Poor dragonfly had his head ripped clean off!
We were wondering why it went after a dragonfly, however. Perhaps the coloring being close to that of the cicada made it confused? Or do they regularly snack on other bugs?
Thanks again!!
Signature: Bruce and Ren

European Hornet Kills Dragonfly

Dear Bruce and Ren,
You have mistaken a European Hornet,
Vespa crabro, for a Cicada Killer, which explains why the prey in your Food Chain images is not a Cicada.  According to BugGuide, they are:  “Predatory on other insects, used to feed young. Also girdle twigs to drink sap.”  We cannot explain why the Dragonfly was killed and decapitated, and then abandoned.  Insects are not prone to killing for the sake of killing.  They either defend themselves or kill to eat or to provide food for their offspring.  We wonder why the European Hornet killed and decapitated the Dragonfly and then abandoned it.  Possibly it was disturbed by the camera.  Perhaps one of our readers will have the time to identify the species of dragonfly.

Decapitated Dragonfly

Daniel,
After browsing your site for a bit we started to suspect our bug may have been a hornet when we saw the coloring wasn’t quite right for a cicada killer. We’re glad to have our suspicions confirmed. We were surprised, though, as the hornet was flying around us while we were throwing a frisbee, and did not seem in the slightest aggressive, even when we got close to take pictures (and we were close enough to hear the crunching! Yuck!). Still an awesome sight we were glad to stumble upon. I forgot to mention, that particular bug was seen at the Prime Hook Wildlife Reserve in Milton, DE. Great place to visit. Thanks again for your help!
Bruce and Ren

 

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Delaware

4 Responses to European Hornet Kills Dragonfly

  1. Juliet says:

    They’re known here for their lack of aggression towards humans. Insects are a different matter though!

  2. RenaudB says:

    There is a lot that has been said about European Hornet and some are myth, like their supposed aggressivity toward human.
    At my parents’ house we had once a busy European Hornets’ nest under the outside roof, over the balcony, jute above the table we ate at. Not even once we had been annoyed by a hornet buzzing around the food. Not only that but there wasn’t any wasp or fly around for they were exterminated by the Hornets.

    The Dragonfly is to me a female Swamp Darner Epiaeschna heros.

    Why the hornet has acted so I can’t tell but maybe something in the dragonfly’s behaviour has trigged a killing reflex to the Hornet, then maybe it ‘realized’ there was to much to deal with.

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