Weird ‘Bug’ Found in Indiana Is Actually A Canabalistic Predator
If you have never heard of a Dragonhunter, you're not alone. Before this morning, when my friend tagged me in a comment on Facebook, I had never heard of one either and despite the scary-looking creature in the photo my friend was drawing my attention to, it turns out it isn't quite so scary after all - at least not for humans.
Deep-Diving the Internet for Answers
Look, I'll be honest. When presented with a subject I know little about, like the creepy monstrosity in the photograph above, I tend to deep-dive my way into an internet rabbit hole until I know more than I ever really wanted to in the first place. We can thank the hyper fixation that accompanies my ADHD brain's search for dopamine for that fun trick.
Not an Intergalactic Alien
But it's that deep-dive dopamine search that allowed me to discover that despite looking like an intergalactic alien species straight out of Men in Black, what was shared in the Indiana Nature Lovers Facebook Group is actually just a species of dragonfly in its non-adult state.
But Not Just a Dragonfly Either
While the insect shared above is a Dragonhunter, or Hagenius brevistylus, in its nymph stage. Its adult stage is a bit less visually scary but do not let it fool you. The Dragonhunter is a fierce predator as both a nymph and an adult and gets its name because it actually preys on other dragonfly species.
The dragonhunter actually eats other dragonflies! According to a report from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, the dragonhunter is the largest species of dragonfly measuring at 3.5 inches long with a bright yellow and black coloring. They are sometimes called the Black Dragon and these winged predators can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour when chasing their prey.
Rare to Find in Indiana
In the state of Indiana, dragonhunters are considered rare, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who has it on their list of Endangered, Threatened, Rare, and Extirpated Arachnids and Insects. They are designated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as rare or even uncommon, and are considered to be imperiled or vulnerable.
While rare and uncommon, the photographic evidence does suggest that these creatures can be found in Indiana.
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