“Around midday on 25th June 2015, I was watching a Common Flangetail (Ictinogomphus decoratus, family Gomphidae) sunning itself near the pond’s edge (above).

“It would make regular flights away from its favourite perch to pronounce its territory, but during one of its return trips, a live cockroach was seen struggling in its grasp (above). Within minutes, its prey was systematically demolished by the predator supreme.

“A video clip of the dragonfly devouring this delicious cockroach may be previewed here:”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
19th December 2015

5 Responses

  1. Am

    Great post. Interesting how it immediately flew off once the entire cockroach was eaten.

    I have always wondered what creatures predated on cockroaches. Never thought dragonflies to be one of them. I have seen sparrows gathering around the chute area in my old place apparently feeding on these small German cockroaches as well, though I couldn’t be sure (wasn’t close enough).

    Would like to see more posts on cockroach predation, especially American cockroaches in particular as they are so large. I have not seen these big cockroaches being predated on by any creature ever. (Except when they’re dead and are carried off by ants.)

  2. budak

    i have seen javan mynahs tackle the big cockroaches when these insects get lost on void decks/landings in daylight.

  3. Lee Chiu San

    Which birds will eat large cockroaches? I would say, almost all the large insectivores and small carnivores. These observations are from aviculture, not from the wild.
    Any thrush larger than a Shama.
    Most Starlings and Mynahs.
    Babblers and Laughing Thrushes.
    Coucals and Makholas,
    Jays and Tree Pies,
    Jungle Fowl
    Surprisingly, most Parrots and Lorikeets, which will happily dismantle and consume any insects they catch.
    Scops Owls.
    Slaty-breasted Rail.
    The feeding of cockroaches to aviary birds is something that should only be done by experienced bird keepers with a trusted source of uncontaminated supply. The average domestic cockroach has been in drains and has probably been sprayed with countless dozes of insecticide. It is definitely not something you want to feed to precious pets.
    However, in chicken farms, feed mills, and other places where food is prepared, insecticides cannot be used. In Singapore today, cockroaches are no longer allowed to exist in such places. But they can still be found in large numbers in feed mills in neighbouring countries. Some are sent to Singapore as a cheaper alternative to the crickets that fanciers feed to their birds. Knowledgeable aviculturalists never feed cockroaches directly to their birds from the supplier. The roaches are usually kept for a week or two and fattened on more nutritious food, especially fruits. The fruits have two effects. They provide the vitamin C and roughage which many insectivorous birds ingest indirectly through their prey. And fruits are purgative, so they hopefully empty contaminants out of the guts of the cockroaches before the insects themselves wind up inside the birds.

    • Am

      Interesting! Thanks for the info. I have never seen anything eat an American cockroach. I always thought predators naturally avoid them as they are filthy, feed on waste, and must taste foul. (They certainly smell horrible to me.)

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