Dragonflies: The Flying Aces of the Insect World
Next time you see a dragonfly, try to watch it catch its next meal on the go. Good luck! "Unless we film it in high speed, we can't see whether it caught the prey, but when it gets back to its perch, if we see it chewing, we know that it was successful," says Stacey Combes, a biomechanist at Harvard University. With support from the National Science Foundation, she and her team are using high speed cameras to help them study how dragonflies pull off complicated aerial feats that include hunting and mating in mid-air. They can fly straight up, straight down, hover like helicopters and disappear in a blur. Combes is also exploring the use of dragonflies for mosquito control.
Credit: National Science Foundation
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