DRAGONHUNTER

The first time I saw a Dragonhunter, the word that kept flashing through my brain was "magnificent."  This is one of our largest dragonflies. (Swamp Darners are slightly larger in wingspan and length, but Dragonhunters look much bulkier.) The individual at left is a male. He was swinging to and fro on a grass stem beside the river at Germantown MetroPark. 

This is a female Dragonhunter. They have more yellow along the sides of their abdomens than males. 

Dragonhunters are apex predators of the insect world; they feed on other dragonflies, large butterflies, and pretty much anything else they can catch. They have the lazy assurance of any apex predator that knows it is king of the hill and has nothing to fear.  

Male Dragonhunter at Germantown MetroPark. Their long legs and gangly bodies make them look somewhat awkward when attempting to settle on a perch. 

Male Dragonhunter at Spring Lakes Park in Bellbrook. Dragonhunters can also be found at Germantown MetroPark, Twin Creek MetroPark, the Caesar Creek dam, and along the Great Miami River. 

Dragonhunters fly primarily in June and July, with stragglers into August and early September. 

Here is the apex predator at work: a female Dragonhunter preying on a Monarch butterfly in Miamisburg. 

This female Dragonhunter ambushed her prey in a bed of weeds along the Great Miami River--the perfect hunting ground to snag a migrating Monarch.