Dragonflies: calculating predators

Published January 20, 2015
 Research

Trithemis-arteriosa-red-vained-Dropwing

Dragonflies do not merely react to the movements of their prey when hunting. New research published in the science journal Nature (doi:10.1038/nature14078), shows that dragonflies carefully predict and plan their hunts. Internal calculations about its own movements and the movements of its target enable the dragonfly to anticipate where to strike.

The research by Mischiati et al. 1.  shows that these internal calculations performed by hunting dragonflies are just as complex as the internal calculations made by a ballet dancer preparing to catch his partner dancing towards him. This type of complex control had been demonstrated in vertebrates, but the dragonfly is the first example of such predictions in invertebrates.

Dragonfly with prey

References:

1. Mischiati, M. et al. Nature 517, 333-338 (2015).

Image credits:

Featured image: Red-veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa) © Lappies Labuschagne

Image 1: Orthetrum cancellatum, female with prey © fabiosa_93

Image 2: Dragonfly Devouring an Insect © rck

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