Dragonflies are one of the most graceful but ferocious insect predators in the animal kingdom. They are capable of hovering like a helicopter or hovering at breakneck speeds and grabbing unsuspecting prey in thin air.
“Dragonflies are one of the oldest and most daring animals on the planet,” said Bryan Pfeiffer, president of the American Dragonfly Association. “They are breathtaking insects, a truly elegant and powerful manifestation of life in the wild, even in your own backyard.”
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Attracting any of the more than 150 species of dragonflies in Maine to your yard is not only good for local ecosystems but also offers endless potential for observation and entertainment.
Phillip deMaynadier, wildlife biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), says the first thing to keep in mind is that when people say “dragonflies,” they almost always say. of the insects of the order Odonata, including both dragonflies and their close cousins, dragonflies.
Dragonfly’s insatiable appetite for mosquitoes, black flies and other flying insects makes them appealing to homeowners who want to control their yard’s pest populations.
“Dragonflies are familiar with humans, and if you stay outside they will fly right in front of you and chase [mosquitoes and blackflies] away,” said Jim Dill, pest management specialist at the University of Maine Co-operative Extension, said . “It’s a good thing to have in your yard.”
Of course, I’m talking about dragonflies 2 to 5 inches long that show up every summer to prey for a rich insect life. Colorful, fast-paced dragonflies are a common sight in the summer.
Dragonflies can eat hundreds of insects each day, including mosquitoes, flies and other biting insects, making them precious neighbors to us.
There are over 3,000 species of dragonflies, and about 450 of them can be found in North America. Dragonflies are known for their long and slender bodies, transparent wings and large multi-faceted eyes.
Dragonfly eyes are called compounds, meaning they are made up of thousands of tiny light receptor units. You can think of this as a lot of small lenses can see images in many directions, whereas humans have one large lens, visible in one direction at a time.
Although the overall image quality of dragonflies is low, their field of view is enormous and nicely tuned for motion detection and tracking.
With all these traits, it is not uncommon for dragonflies to be great hunters. But there’s a more important piece to the puzzle – brain function and processing power needed to intercept a tiny insect flying in mid-air while in flight. When hunting, the dragonflies will lock sight on prey items, meaning they will constantly keep an eye on the prey’s location. If they keep the prey position continuously in the visual field as they fly towards it, they will intercept and capture the prey.