Do predatory adult odonates estimate their adult prey odonates’ body size and dispersal ability to proceed with a successful attack?

Main Article Content

Tharaka Sudesh Priyadarshana


Predator-prey encounters are one of the most challenging behaviors that animals engage in and play a key role in structuring trophic linkages within food webs. Empirical studies suggest that predators (except pathogens, parasites, and parasitoids) tend to be larger in body size and have better dispersal ability than their prey items; however, when predators prey upon members of the same taxonomic group, it is unclear whether such relationships exist between predators and their prey items since both groups may have similar body sizes and dispersal abilities. Adult odonates can be used to test this as they prey upon other odonates within the same suborder, family, genus or species, although such records are uncommon. Using a dataset collected from Sri Lanka and India from 2012 to 2020, this study identified three types of predation behaviors between two suborders of Odonata, i.e., (i) Anisoptera (dragonflies) prey upon Anisoptera, (ii) Anisoptera prey upon Zygoptera (damselflies), and (iii) Zygoptera prey upon Zygoptera. There was no evidence of Anisoptera predation by Zygoptera. Study results showed strong evidence that there is a significant difference in body size (i.e., body length) and dispersal ability (i.e., hind-wing length) between adult predatory odonates and adult prey odonates for all three types of predations. This may indicate that predatory odonates estimate other odonate prey precisely to proceed with a successful attack.

Article Details

How to Cite
Priyadarshana, T.S. 2021. Do predatory adult odonates estimate their adult prey odonates’ body size and dispersal ability to proceed with a successful attack?. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 13, 7 (Jun. 2021), 18949–18952. DOI:
Author Biography

Tharaka Sudesh Priyadarshana, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka

Department of Natural Resources, Student


Kruschke, J.K. (2013). Bayesian estimation supersedes the t test. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142(2): 573–603.

Kruschke, J.K. & M. Meredith (2020). BEST: Bayesian estimation supersedes the t test. R package version 0.5.1

Moretti, M., A.T.C. Dias, F. de Bello, F. Altermatt, S.L. Chown, F.M. Azcárate, J.R. Bell, B. Fournier, M. Hedde, J. Hortal, S. Ibanez, E. Öckinger, J.P. Sousa, J. Ellers & M.P. Berg (2017). Handbook of protocols for standardized measurement of terrestrial invertebrate functional traits. Functional Ecology 31(3): 558–567.

Siemann, E., D. Tilman & J. Haarstad (1999). Abundance, diversity and body size: patterns from a grassland arthropod community. Journal of Animal Ecology 68(4): 824–835.

Waller, J.T., B. Willink, M. Tschol & E.I. Svensson (2019). The odonate phenotypic database, a new open data resource for comparative studies of an old insect order. Scientific Data 6(1): 316.

Woodward, G. & A.G. Hildrew (2002). Body-size determinants of niche overlap and intraguild predation within a complex food web. Journal of Animal Ecology 71(6): 1063–1074.

Zhang, H. (2019). Dragonflies and damselflies of China. Chongqing University Press, Chongqing, China, xiv+1460pp.