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Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 186, Issue 2, pp 155–162 | Cite as

Prey pursuit and interception in dragonflies

  • R. M. Olberg
  • A. H. Worthington
  • K. R. Venator
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Perching dragonflies (Libellulidae; Odonata) are sit-and-wait predators, which take off and pursue small flying insects. To investigate their prey pursuit strategy, we videotaped 36 prey-capture flights of male dragonflies, Erythemis simplicicollis and Leucorrhinia intacta, for frame-by-frame analysis. We found that dragonflies fly directly toward the point of prey interception by steering to minimize the movement of the prey's image on the retina. This behavior could be guided by target-selective descending interneurons which show directionally selective visual responses to small-object movement. We investigated how dragonflies discriminate distance of potential prey. We found a peak in angular velocity of the prey shortly before take-off which might cue the dragonfly to nearby flying targets. Parallax information from head movements was not required for successful prey pursuit.

Key words Dragonfly Prey capture Insect vision Flight Visual pursuit 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Olberg
    • 1
  • A. H. Worthington
    • 2
  • K. R. Venator
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Union College, Schenectady, NY 12308, USA e-mail: olbergr@union.edu Fax: +1-518-388-6429US
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Siena College, Loudonville, NY 12222, USAUS

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