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Notes on the Insane Biology of Dragonflies

What can we learn from the incredible biology of dragonflies?

Bram Adams
Bram Adams
1 min read
Notes on the Insane Biology of Dragonflies

Table of Contents

most animals succeed at the hunt <60% of the time


a dragonfly is an odonate -- extinct ones had 70cm wingspans


dragonflies have muscles that directly connect to their wings


phased stroking is used for forward flight -- at 50km/h


dragonflies can fly backwards


pterostigma acts as a counterweight to flight


can see orange to ultraviolet


fly close to water for higher contrast for prey against a blue sky


dragonflies play tracking to predict prey


humans can learn interoception ^d31494


less oxygen, smaller animals


dinosaurs may have outcompeted larger dragonflies

On Coal Forests

Huge dragonflies lived off of higher O2 air content

Coal forests were the vast swathes of wetlands that covered much of the Earth's tropical land areas during the late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) and Permian times.[1][2] As vegetable matter from these forests decayed, enormous deposits of peat accumulated, which later changed into coal.
Much of the carbon in the peat deposits produced by coal forests came from photosynthetic splitting of existing carbon dioxide, which released the accompanying split-off oxygen into the atmosphere. This process may have greatly increased the oxygen level, possibly as high as about 35%, making the air more easily breathable by animals with inefficient respiratory systems, as indicated by the size of Meganeura compared to modern dragonflies. (View Highlight)
big dragonfly for scale.png

Bram Adams

writer, programmer


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