Dragonfly nocturnal activity?

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Dragonfly nocturnal activity?

Postby Ilian Velikov » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:36 am

I know there are some dragonfly people on this forum, so I thought you might know more about this.

The last few weeks I observed some nocturnal dragonfly activity around the neighbourhood, mainly Aeshna species. I know almost nothing about these beautiful insects but I was surprised to find they fly at night since I thought they mainly navigate by sight (or do they?). Unfortunately, quite a few of them are becomming easy prey for the local cats.

I found almost nothing on the web, apart from this http://opinicon.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/observations-of-dragonflies-visiting-lights-at-night/ but it concernes some observations in the US and doesn't give a lot of answers.

So, have you seen nocturnal dragonfy activity and does anybody know why they fly at night?

Thanks,
Ilian
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Re: Dragonfly nocturnal activity?

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:22 pm

I can imagine that the warm weather of the last couple of days could trigger them to do so. They hunt in flight. Aeshna cyanea and A. mixta are keen twilight hunters, so why not a little later on, when temperatures allow it? Even later flying are the Boyeria spp. - we saw one of the very rare Boyeria cretensis get caught by a bat on Crete.
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Re: Dragonfly nocturnal activity?

Postby Ilian Velikov » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:15 pm

Ok, I see. Thanks, Jeroen!

What do they mainly hunt at night? Moths? How do they navigate in the dark? Do those big eyes have a nightvision?
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country: Bulgaria

Re: Dragonfly nocturnal activity?

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:58 pm

Ilian Velikov wrote:Ok, I see. Thanks, Jeroen!

What do they mainly hunt at night? Moths? How do they navigate in the dark? Do those big eyes have a nightvision?


Was it really pitch black? I guess they should see at least something... They'll hunt for anything they can grab. With Euro dragons that would be all inverts from moths and smaller (mosquitoes, flies, beetles, ...).
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Re: Dragonfly nocturnal activity?

Postby Ilian Velikov » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:31 pm

Was it really pitch black?


Well, no I would not have seen them myself if it was ;) However,the only light was comming from the artificial lights from inside the houses. So, It was well past sunset and I can imagine if you were to go away from the houses it would've been pitch black. Dragonflies must have pretty amazing hunting skills! Unfortunatel, so do cats.
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