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Adult dragonflies- What and How do they eat? (video example included)

A dragonfly will eat a fifth of it’s body weight each day. The dragonfly is quite an agile predator. They use their six legs to grab and lock onto their prey in a barrel role like movement. They have amazing eyesight due to their large eyes. They are able to see far more then our own peripheral vision allow.

While dragonflies are in their aquatic state, they love off of small fish, tadpoles, insects and other invertebrates. Adult dragonflies will eat pretty much any insect they can grab hold of. They are carnivorous and will even eat other dragonflies and damselflies.

They also go after the occasional butterfly or moth when it gets the chance, but a dragonflies favorite snack is the mosquito. Dragonflies help control the biting fly and mosquito populations with their diets.

Although there are so many different shapes, the insect mouth basically consists of there pairs of limbs. They are the jaws *mandibles, the second jaws *maxillas (with *maxillary palp) and the lower lip *labium (with labial palp). Together with the upper lip *labrum, they form the mouth of the insects.


As this video shows, a dragonfly will extend its labrum over the fly as it consumes its prey.

*Mandibles- Insect mandibles are a pair of appendages near the insect’s mouth, and the most anterior of the three pairs of oral appendages (the labrum is more anterior, but is a single fused structure). Their function is typically to grasp, crush, or cut the insect’s food, or to defend against predators or rivals.

*Maxillas- The maxilla is the upper jawbone formed from the fusion of two maxillary bones. The upper jaw includes the frontal portion of the palate of the mouth.

*Maxillary palp- Jointed antenna like, sensory structure found on the maxillae of an insect.

*Labium-a fused part of the mouth that forms the floor of the mouth of an insect

  • Postmentum — fused basal sclerites that articulate with the head.
  • Prementum — distal sclerites that support another pair of sensory palps and divide apically to form four lobes; the two innermost lobes are called glossae and the two outermost lobes are called paraglossae.

*Labrum- a simple plate-like sclerite that serves as a front lip to help contain the food.

Did you know?, Insect

3 thoughts on “Adult dragonflies- What and How do they eat? (video example included)

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