Dragonfly prey pursuit strategies

MoCapColliding one object with another in the air is extremely challenging, and yet dragonflies do that routinely every time they need a bite. For a long time, such prey interception behavior was compared to the guided missile program. In short, the missile would lock the target at constant bearing or constant relative orientation. By maintaining such geometry, the missile is on the collision course to the target. However, we found dragonfly’s behavior much more organic. Instead of following the most efficient interception trajectory, the dragonfly actively orients itself behind and below the prey. Such tactic keeps the dragonfly always in the blind spot of the prey, preventing the prey from doing any evasive action. The dragonfly is not catching a ball after-all… it’s catching another flying animal.

Example trajectory

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