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Five fascinating facts about dragonflies

Tuesday, July 14th 2020, 12:52 pm - Get to know more about this interesting and diverse species.

Dragonflies are a summertime staple in Canada, but how much do you know about this diverse species?

Here at The Weather Network we realized we didn't know much, so we looked into it.

The idea was inspired by the video above, from Shawn Ness-Wonson, who lives near Attawapiskat, Ontario.

In it, a dragonfly is seen eating a horsefly while perched on the beard of a (very calm) Ness-Wonson.

Which brings us to our first fact ...

1. DRAGONFLIES EAT INSECTS

It's not uncommon for a dragonfly to eat horseflies. They also dine on midges, mosquitoes, butterflies, and even smaller dragonflies, according to Woodland Trust.

They normally catch their prey in the air, which will they will then carry to a perch to eat -- just like in the video above.

According to The Smithsonian, dragonflies can eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day and play a role in keeping their population numbers down.

2. THEY'RE EFFICIENT HUNTERS

A Harvard study that released smaller insects into a dragonfly enclosure found they captured up to 97 per cent of their prey.

“[Their] brain use a highly optimized hunting strategy that allows the dragonfly to predict where the prey is going and the appropriate muscle commands to intercept it,” neuro-scientist Anthony Leonardo of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland told the BBC in 2015.

3. DRAGONFLIES HAVE NEARLY 360-DEGREE VISION

01dragonfly - GettyImages-1051717440 All eyes. Courtesy: Getty Images.

The head of a dragonfly is pretty much all eyes, and they can see from nearly every angle except for a small blind spot on their back. That's one of the reasons they're such good hunters -- their prey is never out of their sight.

4. THEY COME IN MANY DIFFERENT COLOURS

Dragonflies come in a diverse range of colours, including yellow, red, brown, and blue -- and sometimes, their wings will have markings like spots of bands.

Males tend to have iridescent wings and a body that is blue, green, or purple. Females are usually a golden brown color, even on their wings.

02 - dragonfly - GettyImages-1135193045 Courtesy: Getty Images.

5. A DRAGONFLY THAT CAN'T FLY IS DOOMED

In addition to superb eyesight, dragonflies are incredible flyers and can hover and fly straight up and down.

They also depend on flight to eat -- because that's how they catch their prey. A dragonfly that cannot fly will starve.

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