Dragonflies, and folk wisdom

Posted: July 11, 2010 in india
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Charles Anderson’s TED talk on dragonflies had many surprises in store for me. Apparently dragonflies feed on mosquito larvae. To be specific, it seems it’s the dragonfly larvae that feed on mosquito larvae. For a while now, I had been wondering if there are any predators that feed on mosquitoes, and I knew of none until I watched this talk. Dragonflies don’t seem to be effective in controlling mosquito population though.

Another interesting thing that I learned from this TED talk is that south Asian dragonflies migrate along with the monsoons. Since dragonflies breed in fresh water, they go along with the monsoon wind looking for water sources to lay eggs in. In our native place, it is considered that dragonfly swarms are harbingers of rain. I have never taken it seriously. Now that I stumbled across a scientific reason behind this folk wisdom, it seems to make perfect sense. It made me realize that traditional knowledge is generally empirical; people notice a pattern in nature, and it becomes part of local wisdom.

I did a little more reading on dragonflies, and came across this interesting tidbit of information:
Dragonfly nymph use rocket propulsion to navigate in water:

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