Dragonfly conspecific interactions

Dragonfly prey capture might be an impressive behavior, but it is questionable whether the behavior pushes the dragonfly to its maximum performance. Dragonfly pursuing mate or fending off rivals would be a totally different story. During a courtship behavior, the female often invites the male for a chase and, in the process, assesses the strength of the male. Most of these flights are above 5m/s (~16ft/s) with 3~6G turns. Traveling at such speed and still staying on the pursuit course impose great sensory and metabolic challenges. Tandem flight in dragonfly is another interesting control problem. The male has a pair of modified appendages that clasp onto the back of the female’s head. Careful flight coordination is absolutely critical, yet exactly how such coordination is achieved remains unclear. In this project, I am developing tools and devices to help capture some of these behaviors both in the field and in the lab.

DF-DF chase_adjusted

 

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