The visual neuroecology of anisoptera.

Current Opinion in Insect Science
Benjamin Horatio LancerSteven D Wiederman

Abstract

Dragonflies belong to the oldest known lineage of flying animals, found across the globe around streams, ponds and forests. They are insect predators, specialising in ambush attack as aquatic larvae and rapid pursuit as adults. Dragonfly adults hunt amidst swarms in conditions that confuse many predatory species, and exhibit capture rates above 90%. Underlying the performance of such a remarkable predator is a finely tuned visual system capable of tracking targets amidst distractors and background clutter. The dragonfly performs a complex repertoire of flight behaviours, from near-motionless hovering to acute turns at high speeds. Here, we review the optical, neuronal, and behavioural adaptations that underlie the dragonflies' ability to achieve such remarkable predatory success.

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