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Photo Information
Copyright: Radomir Jaskula (cicindela) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1223 W: 0 N: 3103] (9226)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-06-26
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5400, @ ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.6
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Odonata: Dragonflies and Damselflies, Insects around the world, Robberfly, Insects' World, jmp *1, Robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae) of Europe, Insects (Insecta) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-23 5:43
Viewed: 5399
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello my Friends!
Not so long ago I started to write something about robber flies - Asilidae (Diptera), their hunting strategies and different types of prey. Then I wrote that these flies can catch also relatively big insects, including members of Odonata order. And today I would like to proove it :>

This is Neoitamus cyanurus with a prey - a very fresh female of Platycnemis pennipes (Odonata: Platycnemidae). The some robber fly species but with another type of prey was presented by me several days ago here.

Here on the picture you can really see the kind of "chain of food", which includes three different groups of invertebrates. There are: the damselfly - a prey, the robber fly - a predator, and small, red creature presented on fly's abdomen - a parasitic mite. So there are "3 in 1" and a proof that none predator is the last predator ;>
Anyway, if you would like to see similar interaction but without "medial" species, please see here.

And now I would like to pay your attention for one more detail. As you can easy note, the prey is much bIgger that the predator. But please also note that the attack was just for the damselfly's thorax, and the fly's proboscis is placed just in the middle of this part of Odonata body. Why??? The answer is really simple. Thorax is the part of body in which the most important muscles in insects are placed (thanks to them the insect can fly or walk!), there are also very important parts of nervous system. So attack for the thorax allows to "paralize" the prey quick and successfully. Simply - the prey can not move and escape.

The photo was taken in the forest area in the Spala Nature Reserve, Spala Landscape Park, Central Poland.

Jamesp, JORAPAVI, GLEM, cataclysta, eqshannon, angybone, jcoowanitwong, ellis49, Argus, extramundi, anel, horia, delic, lawhill, jmp, ramthakur, Alex99, marmottelolo has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To red45: slawa ;>cicindela 2 05-24 02:41
To cataclysta: ostrosccicindela 1 05-23 07:36
To Jamesp: gruesome or natural? ;>cicindela 1 05-23 06:03
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Radomir

Excellent - if rather gruesome - shot. Great POV and composition, with excellent DOF and colour.


  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2007-05-23 6:16]
  • [+]

Czesc Radek!

Kolejna fascynujaca fotka. Szczegolowa, ostra, ladnie kadrowana, technicznie bardzo dobra. Jednak najwazniejszy jest uchwycony moment - kolejny lowik zjadajacy wielka wazke :-) Nigdy czegos takiego nie widzialem, nie mowiac juz o sfotografowaniu. Gratulacje! No i jeszcze sie jakis pasozyt zalapal :-) Kazdy chce byc slawny :-)

Hola Radomir,
Otra espectacular toma, con gran nitidez y mucho detalle, el momento capturado es único. Saludos
José Ramón

Hello Radomir,
You really know insects well as your notes are much interesting and so is this capture. What a great action caught! Details, POV and composition are very good and we can feel the drama happening. Poor little thing but as you said, this is part of the chain of food and nothing can change this ;) Thanks,

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-05-23 6:54]

hi Radomir,
another great shot of canabalism scene, this fly species is terrific.
All is well manage, flash is a good idea.


Czesc Radziu
Morderca w akcji. Bardzo lubie takie zdjecia. Lekkie problemy z ostroscia nie sa w tym wypadku tak istotne bo pokazana sytuacja jest swietna

Hej Radku!
Ja cierpliwosci nie mam do fotografowania owadow ;-) Ale lubie je ogladac w dobrym wykonaniu. Bardzo dobra kompozycja i kolorystyka.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-05-23 8:14]

Hi Radomir,
Wonderful action shot. All the three subjects are well captured. Somewhere the predator also becomes the prey and life moves on. Very sharp image and a superb story portrayed. Excellent POV and a precise DOF. Very informative note.

Wonderful focus and use of field to secure the small beast in clear and sharp detail.

I have several pictures of such actions, but mine giving the appearance of more violence, while yours takes nature in its course which is true.

Well done.

Real nature. Funny, I was thinking about this sort of thing this morning - - - about the seeming 'cruelty' of the food chain.
Great portrayal of real life. :)

Great action shot.
The damsel would have maybe be able to kill the robberfly too. Depends who see who in first.

Hi Radomir,
Robberfly is a great predator. This picture also a good proof. The attack is precise and you show this action vividly. Very well done and also thanks for informative note.

Hi Radomir,
you have captured a great action, this is real nature.
The details and DOF are very good.
And the note are very good.
Great work.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-05-23 15:55]

Wow, what a great capture, Radomir!
This is an excellent macro showing a Robber Fly grappling with its damselfly prey showin with fine sharpness and set in a pleasing compostion.
Maybe the flash was a little too strong here, but this does detract from the quality of this shot.
Well done and best wishes, Ivan

Fantastic action shot, this is really a feast for this lucky Robber :)... as many other times, predator predated.
The composition and POV are lovely, and the amount of different colours makes a very strong photo. The flash is just a bit harsh for my personal taste, I dared a fast workshop, hope you dont mind :)
BTW: Did you receive the gomphus photos I sent?
Best regards, and good work!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-05-24 1:50]

Hello Radomir,
An excellent note explaining an excellent picture. These Robber-flies are terrible!!
Bonne journée

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-05-24 4:27]

Hi Radek

A really fascinating proof of that nothing and nobody in nature is safe. No matter how big you are or how voracious of a pradator you are, there can always be someone to put you in danger.
Terrific macro here with excellent details and sharpness.
Also very good flash work as well as POV.
I remember looking at this shot with the same pleasure on the PES website, too :)

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • ridvan Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 498 W: 0 N: 1136] (5205)
  • [2007-05-24 10:03]

selam radomir; wow great shot ,nice colours and clear pose with well presented POV . good BG. TFS well done.
all the best ,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-05-28 14:15]

Hello Radomir,
Very sharp illustration of this dramatic event! Excellent very sharp details and colours of the Robber Fly. Excellent composition and very interesting note too!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-29 15:47]

Hello Radomir,
An excellent short lecture on the food chain in the fly world. Do you use these images in your lectures?
I'm impressed! Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2007-06-03 13:30]

Dear Radomir,
great, the food chain you present and the thoughtful comment that goes with it. And the picture is perfect. I just wonder about your flash: you give as exposure time 1/2 sec. I like the many small reflexes on wings and bodies, they look natural.

My best regards,

Belle photo de ces insecte un qui gagne et un qui perd, dure loi de la nature. Cet instant est bien fixé et les détails sont très beaux. Amitiés Thomas

Hello Radomir,
Great close up vivid colors with great sharpness
great capture on the rigth moment TFS regards/Lawhill

Hi Radomir, splendid macro with beautiful details, great moment for this wonderful composition, very well done, have a great week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-06-09 12:53]

Hi Radomir,
Wow! What a document and note. I love it! Yes, you have proved it!!

Hi Radomir,
Thanks for looking up my wasp picture and writing your commment on it. I see you have been busy with your work.
I too was sort of temporarily laid off TN by some technical faults in my internet connection for the past four days. Even now, it is acting funny!
Coming to your picture of a Robberfly feeding on a damselfly, you have captured a truly momentous event from nature that depicts the ruthless ways of survival. It is amazing how a smaller hunter can successfully over-power a much bigger prey. The predator in this picture looks fully in control of the situation.
Well done and thanks for sharing this great image.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-06-17 14:21]

Hi Radomir.
Excellent photo of great subject and quality. Amazing exactness of colours and other details, outstanding composition and perfect exposure despite the complex BG. Flash work is blameless. Bravo and TFS.

Hi Radomir,
it's soooo sad - poor little damselfly.
I always wonder how big insects these roberflies can catch. I captured one of this flies some days ago, they are impressive.
Thanks for the shot, I like it
Sabine - wishnugaruda

bonjour radomir
ces mouches sont vraiment tres voraces,a chaque fois que j'en vois une sur TN il y a une proie avec.
tres belle capture.

Hello Radomir,
Wow! ... thanks for suggesting sees this picture! did not know that these flies could be so greedy and eat a dragonfly! ... Good POV, interesting photo! very very interesting!
TFS, Regards, Jesús

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