Dragonfly Champion Ruary on the trail of a ‘Flying Fossil’: the New Zealand Bush Giant!
Our very own Dragonfly Champion Ruary Mackenzie Dodds and his wife Kari de Koenigswarter have been searching through the wilds of New Zealand to study the mysterious Bush Giant Dragonfly!
The pair had to install large security cameras into wild landscapes in order to film the burrow dwelling larvae of the Bush Giant. They also undertook overnight stake outs next to burrows to try and catch a glimpse of these secretive insects emerging.
New Zealand Bush Giant Dragonfly, adult, photo credit:Ruary and Kari.
Ruary tells us a bit more about this fantastic beast:
“The bush giant, ‘Uropetala carovei’, is only found in New Zealand. It’s very ancient, its species unchanged for 127 million years.
To put that in perspective, the coelacanth fish species – the famous living fossil – is only 65 million years old. So you could say the bush giant, twice as old, is a fossil that flies.
Unlike almost all other dragonflies worldwide, the Bush Giant tunnels a metre-long burrow downwards into mud and lives in it, rather than living in rivers or lakes or ponds or streams.
It stays deep down the tunnel of its burrow during the day and no one knows what it does at night. Does it come out and go hunting? Does it stay at the top of its burrow and wait for prey to come along? Or what? We decided to find out.”
Ruary and Kari are now home in Perthshire, Scotland and creating a scientific film to share their findings with us all. We will keep you posted about when this film will be available to watch. Soon we will know more about this mysterious flying fossil!
Full news article from Daily Record here.