Ever wondered, what do dragon flies eat? Have you ever gone to a pond and watched a flying bug whizz by your vision? The gorgeous buzzing insect you witnessed was most likely a dragonfly. Dragonflies are classified as Odonata and Anisoptera, “unequal wing.” Dragonflies, unlike the similar-looking damselfly, are quick flyers and aerial predators.
Dragonflies have around 3,000 living species, making them an incredibly varied group of insects. While most dragonflies dwell in tropical areas, some can be found in temperate regions. They are often found in wetland habitats such as rivers, lakes, marshes, or ponds.
Even though certain species have extensive nymphal or baby phases, most adult dragonflies survive only a few days or weeks. Therefore, they must ensure that they eat enough food to have enough energy to reproduce during that period. However, what do dragonflies eat?
To address this topic, we’ll need to look at the habitats of different dragonflies at different phases of their lives. Next, we’ll look at what foods dragonflies usually eat and how they forage for food. Furthermore, we’ll compare what wild dragonflies consume to what caged dragonflies eat. Finally, we’ll look at a nymph’s or newborn dragonfly’s food. Continue reading to find out what dragonflies consume.
What Do Dragonflies Eat?
Dragonflies are voracious feeders, requiring vast food to grow fast and become adults. They reside in the water or on the bottom soil as larvae and utilize their face masks to catch passing aquatic animals. The cover is part of their jaw, although it resembles an extending claw in many respects.
Many larvae hunt their food in various ways, including hiding amid the foliage or immersing themselves in silt. They are predatory animals, but they must also be aware of everything they want to devour them.
They will consume a variety of aquatic invertebrates, including mosquito larvae and dragonfly larvae. Small fish and amphibians are also eaten by larger larvae. As adults, the dragonflies will escape from the water and become skilled airborne predators. They will catch whatever they can with their new wings as they swoop through the air, from mosquitos to moths. They capture their prey mostly with their legs, gripping them as they fly by.
What Adult Dragonflies Eat?
Dragonflies dine on other living insects as adults. They don’t have any food preferences. They will devour any insect, including other dragonflies. Most of their food is midges and mosquitoes. However, dragonflies will also eat flies, honeybees, beetle, caterpillars, moths, and other flying insects.
The dragonfly’s size determines the size of the target bug it can swallow (including other dragonflies and damselflies). A dragonfly will devour around 15% of its body weight in prey per day, and bigger species can potentially take considerably more. Dragonflies are skilled in consuming bigger targets and may also inflict severe bites on human fingers.
What Immature Dragonflies Eat?
Dragonfly nymphs, which dwell in water, consume live prey as well. A nymph will hide, usually on watery plants. When the target approaches, it unrolls its labium. It thrusts it towards an instant, catching the unwary creature with a pair of palpi. Tadpoles and even tiny fish can be captured and eaten by larger nymphs.
Some dragonfly nymphs use short palps to stab their prey. Immature darners, clubtails, petal tails, and dragonflies are among them. Other dragonfly nymphs encircle their prey with grab-and-scoop mouthparts. Immature skimmers, gemstones, spiketails, and cruisers are among them.
What do dragonflies eat in ponds?
We’ve already spoken about how dragonfly nymphs eat on the water. So even while adult dragonflies will feed on a pond, the pond will have more dragonfly nymphs.
What do dragonflies consume in the pond? A nymph may devour several food items in the pond. In the pond, the fish deposit their eggs. Tadpoles move about the pond, and mosquito larvae may be found in pools of water like this. Do we really need to detail what a dragonfly consumes from the pond?
They’ll eat all of these items and several other tiny insects. Adult dragonflies may consume pond fish. They will grab the prey in their legs and use their legs as a grip to finish the fish. A dragonfly will always have numerous flying insects nearby to fill its little belly, whether from the pond or the land.
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