What do dragonflies eat?

By | February 11, 2018

If you have a penchant for unusual pets, then dragonflies are probably right up there on your list. And why should they not be? These insects are admirably pretty with their long, slender bodies and transparent, often patterned wings. They can fly super fast. They can see at almost every angle except the back of their heads. And they can hover at one place like helicopters, cool as you please. And now that you have waxed eloquent about the wonders of the dragonfly; it is time to think about the more practical aspects: food, to begin with. What do you feed a dragonfly to keep it healthy?

what do dragonflies eat

Different food at different times

The first thing to know is that there is no one size fits all formula here; different kinds of dragonflies will opt for different kinds of food. There are two different stages in a dragonfly’s life, apart from being an egg: nymph and adult. The nymph is the first stage of the dragonfly’s life; it has just hatched out of the egg and is quite ravenous. The desire to eat is somewhat abated by the time the dragonfly becomes an adult and turns its mind to other interesting pursuits, mainly breeding. But do not assume the adult dragonfly to be a picky eater. It can eat food equal to its own weight in less than an hour, and hunts and eats almost anything- even fellow dragonflies.

Food for nymph dragonflies

Nymphs are very interesting little creatures. They are ravenous literally from the minute that they are born, and will most likely go for anything that they can get their hands on. They are extremely agile in water, and show absolutely no preference for any particular kind of water bug. They are mainly aquatic creatures, and swim equally well in shallow and deep waters to get ahead of and hunt down their prey- mainly water insects- mosquito larvae, fish spawn, insect eggs, small fish, and occasionally other dragonfly nymphs. They display formidable ease in the air for an aquatic creature, and are often seen to turn their interest upon an airborne insect and catch it by leaping high into the air and returning to the water most nonchalantly.

Food for adult dragonflies

The adult dragonfly is only slightly less ravenous than its younger self, but an equally ruthless killer in the air as it was previously in the water. They mostly hunt mosquitoes, other dragonflies, bees, and flies. However, that is not to assume that they will not go for anything else, because the adult dragonfly will hunt and eat anything small enough. Butterflies, moths, insect larvae, beetles, and almost any flyig insect fall prey to dragonflies. It is to be noted, however, that these predator do not eat anything dead; they go only for live prey.

Keeping dragonflies is not as low maintenance a task as one would presume. If you are keeping a couple as a pet, of course it can be assumed that they will be in a wide jar or a case. Make sure you do not have more than one of a single sex in the jar at the same time as they would certainly try to eat each other, and keep up a regular supply of food at all times. Let mosquitoes breed in a water bowl in the jar so that the dragonflies have a steady supply of food.

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