Catching Dragonflies

A project log for The Dragonfly: Nature's Guided Missile

Examining the neural activity of dragonfly predatory behavior to discover the mechanics of its highly accurate prey capture

Patricia AguiarPatricia Aguiar 06/22/2016 at 15:350 Comments

Catching the dragonflies:

The first step of my project is to collect the dragonflies. Dragonflies love vegetation near waterways (rivers, streams, ponds, lakes etc.) All you need to catch them is a butterfly net and a mesh cage. Once I caught enough, I put the dragonflies in individual cups and place them in the refrigerator (this will anesthetize them).

Above is a dragonfly perched in my mesh cage

Note: It is important not to catch a damselfly! They look a lot like dragonflies but they are thinner, and when they perch their wings touch (as opposed to dragonflies, whose wings remain spread).

Above is a dragonfly in a bag (not closed to let in air) ready to go in the refrigerator.

Dragonflies in the refrigerator (5 dragonflies). The dragonflies are in the petri dishes and the plastic bags are lightly placed on top to ensure that the dragonflies do not get out. The bag is open enough to let in plenty of air and big enough not to squish the dragonfly.