A dragonfly swoops up beneath his prey, forming a basket with his six legs.
Unlike catching a football - in which a receiver runs toward the ball's destination - the dragonfly's flight plan isn't so reflexive. Rather, the animal can predict his prey's motion before it happens with deadly accuracy, Leonardo and his colleagues reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday. By preemptively steering with head and body, Leonardo said, "this lets the dragonfly respond with greater speed and accuracy than it could based on reactions alone.
"Properly orchestrating that ballet of motion requires considerable planning and prediction - reactions just aren't good enough," said Leonardo.