Dragonfly mechanics

    Newer Older

    Dragonflies are aerial predators, ruling the skies and terrorizing other airborne insects since before the dinosaurs. Although they have a more "primitive" flight mechanism than other insects, this does not mean they are poorer fliers; they are, in certain ways, more agile than anything that has evolved afterwards. After all, if they couldn't outmaneuver their prey, they would have gone extinct long ago...

    An engineer's dream, its wings provide the dragonfly with outstanding speed and maneuverability. They feature a direct flight mechanism with wing muscles connecting directly to the wing bases, which are hinged so that a small movement of the wing base downward lifts the wing itself upwards (much like an oar). When in flight, the wings perform a figure-8 motion, creating vortices of swirling air that keep the insect aloft. They take advantage of unsteady viscous fluid dynamics in a way we are still striving to comprehend. Fore and hind wings operate independently, which gives a degree of fine control and mobility not seen in other flying insects, in terms of the abruptness with which they can change direction and speed.

    Sources:
    - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect_flight
    - www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March00/APS_Wang.hrs.html
    and many more: www.google.com/search?q=dragonfly+wing+flight+mechanics

    This is a Scarlet darter (Crocothemis erythraea) male.
    Best viewed Large, On Black (highly recommended!)

    Click here for more photos of this species in my photostream.

    haikulinde, twentyeight, Gary*, and 96 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Juliano Pavan 77 months ago | reply

      Another fantastic macro!
      Loved the crisp details!

    2. Justin Nay Photography 75 months ago | reply

      SLR Macro Photography (digital)
      Please consider adding this great photo to SLR Macro Photography (digital) Group, where members win real prizes!

      awesome shot

    3. Tanya Puntti (SLR Photography Guide) 75 months ago | reply

      Nice catch. Yes, they do look mechanical don't they. Amazing!

      SLR Macro Photography (digital)
      Your photo was seen in SLR Macro Photography (digital) Group, where members win real prizes!

    4. Frizztext 72 months ago | reply

      Thank you for posting in the contest 21 of our group 500x500!
      Please VOTE now there [give to 12 pics (out of 100) one equal point] at
      www.flickr.com/groups/500x500/discuss/72157605119081469/
      +

    5. goodyeled 72 months ago | reply

      I love the details in the wings. Great shot!

    6. Austin T. 68 months ago | reply

      Great shot! We would love for you to join!
      treefrog
      www.flickr.com/groups/macro-natureonly/

    7. VitaliYuri 60 months ago | reply

      unveliebavle macro

    8. Sir Francis Canker Photography © 57 months ago | reply

      Great species!
      Can I exchange your red dragon for mine (green)?
      www.flickr.com/photos/pacocanker/3761978115/

    9. Sir Francis Canker Photography © 57 months ago | reply

      Excellent! Great knowledge, but, how do you know mine is a Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) female? Im impressed!! By the way, mine was taken in Norther Italy.. And most of all, was extremely friendly. This is how I got so close to her as she was looking at me, inspecting my cam and opening her mouth... Are you aware this is friendly kind of dragon?
      Cheers!

    10. UoPHoCDA 56 months ago | reply

      Great shot.

    11. Pupina84 55 months ago | reply

      wonderful macro!

    12. jdawn1982 51 months ago | reply

      This is an amazing macro shot. I've tried to get some macros of dragonflies, but can't quite get that close. I did get one eating another bug, though.

    13. gregography1 51 months ago | reply

      The information provided with this photo is more than adequate. The shot and the info are really appreciated. Very nice marco... thanks for sharing everything. Your photos are exceptional.

    14. miguelyn... 49 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Art of Images (♥P1-Aw 3♥) High Quality Group -Sweeper, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      one more fave..great work
      Seen in a discussion of the group "100+ Faves 1-2-3 (Post one,Comment and Fave two

    15. dubbelt_halvslag 48 months ago | reply

      Excellent details!

    16. Ming - chun ( very busy ) 38 months ago | reply


      I saw this in the 100+ Faves group and Faved it.

    17. Museum Victoria 38 months ago | reply

      Thank you for releasing this under a CC license. It's a magnificent shot and I've used it to illustrate an MV Blog post about dragonflies here: museumvictoria.com.au/about/mv-blog/mar-2011/dragonflies-...

    18. Vicki's Nature 34 months ago | reply

      beautiful detail on this darter!

      great work, compliments from the 100-100-1000 Group
      100-100-1000 Group

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts