Orthetrum austeni (Kirby), a specialist predator of butterflies (Anisoptera: Libellulidae)
Notulae odonatologicae , Volume 4 - Issue 2 p. 34- 34
In 1966-70 and again in 1972, 1 repeatedly observed O. austeni preying on butterflies. My observations were made in an area of well-grown secondary rain forest near Freetown, Sierra Leone. Typically, the dragonflies flew up and down the stream as seized butterflies as they crossed from one patch of forest to another. I also saw the dragonflies flying sorties from stream-side perches to which they returned again and again with or without prey. It would have been possible to have obtained hundreds of predation records, but it was only much later (after I had left Sierra Leone) that 1 realised that there are rather few known instances of dragonflies as specialist butterfly predators. I did, however, collect three specimens of O. austeni, together with their butterfly prey. The butterflies are Bicyclus dorothea (Cramer) (Satyrinae), Cyrestis camillus (Fabricius) (Nymphalinae) and Junonia terea (Drury) (Nymphalinae), all three of which are abundant forest and forestedge species.
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