Form and Function

Dragonflies are well adapted predators.  Their compound eyes give almost a 360 degree scope of vision.  This color vision is not the same resolution in the back and sides of the compound eye (in comparison to the front), but it provides enough resolution to catch movement (Berger, 2004).  They also have ocelli that detect light.  These adaptations have allowed dragonflies to analyze their surroundings with a remarkable reaction time.  This aids them in their ability to catch moving prey in the air, or avoid predators. 

Dragonflies’ bodies are built for speed.  With a long, slender body and massive wings, some dragonflies can fly at estimated speeds of 25-35 miles per hour (Berger, 2004), maximizing their predatory abilities.  In addition to this streamlined body, their large, powerful wings provide maneuverability for ducking in between reeds or other aquatic vegetation.  This efficiency can be compared to their larval stage.  Dragonfly larvae, or nymphs, are built to be efficient swimmers.