Dragonflies may be the best hunters in the animal kingdom.I read somewhere that dragonflies are one of the insects that existed eons ago with possibly the dinosaurs and according to this article written by Natalie Angier, these aerial dainty but deadly predators are such effective hunters that they are able to snatch their flying preys 95% of the time compared to about 25% in African lions or 50% in great white sharks. Their voracity and brutally are almost unmatched in the animal kingdom. The preys are often torn up, mashed and consumed before the dragonflies alight on perches.
What is so unique about them is their elaborately designed brain, eyes and wings that enable them to single out their prey in a cloud of other flying insects, track the moving prey through a plotted trajectory and intercept the target in midair. Such ambush predation often catches the clueless prey from behind without them realizing what hit them until it is too late.
Their nervous system shows a capacity for selective attention, much like that of humans, with an intricate network of neurons connecting its brain to its thoracic flight motor center. In most insects, the wings and the thorax are fused and move as one but in the dragonfly, each of the four wings are attached to the thorax through independent muscles, rendering the creature with this almost unheard of extraordinary ability to execute an entire range of flight options which includes hovering, diving, flying backwards and upside down and pivoting 360 degrees in midair with wing beats up to 50 km/h. In addition, their pair of large spherical orbital eyes consist of about 30,000 pixel-like facets and are the largest in the insect kingdom.
In comparison to some other animals and insects, dragonflies have little or no hearing abilities, with short antennas which are ineffective for smelling or pheromonal flirtations.
With such specialized anatomy and unparalleled abilities, it is no wonder the United States military is carrying out research on it as the archetypal precision drone.