As one of the world’s most voracious predators (yes, really) dragonflies have one of the most effective hunting strategies in the animal kingdom.
Using their pin-sharp eyesight, dragonflies scan for prey from a perch. Their vision is so sharp they can pick out a single insect in a swarm.
Launching from below the target, the dragonfly uses amazing eye, brain and wing coordination ti align itself with its prey in the air.
Some species can hunt at speeds of around 48kph (30mph). They rush their prey with a surprise attack and have a success rate of 90-95 per cent.
As prey is seized, the dragonfly uses its legs to form a ‘basket’ to ensure it can’t escape. The dragonfly will eat in mid-air before restarting the chase.
How dragonfly wings work
Each wing operates independently in each direction and there is a phase difference between the two pairs – they flap to different rhythms.
Moving the wing pairs in such a way allows a hug e array of movement – dragonflies can fly forwards, backwards, up, down, hover and also glide.
Each wing has elevator and depressor muscles attached to it directly. To go forwards, the front wings provide lift, while the back set provide the thrust required.
By adjusting their wing orientation, dragonflies can alter the aerodynamic forces acting on their wings. This gives the insects incredible control over their flight.