by Josh Adkins, UK Entomology Graduate Student
I found some videos of immature dragonflies on YouTube and thought I'd share them here.
Of all the groups of predators, I think dragonfly naiads are the most intriguing. They are truly alien looking, and that hinged, extendable labium makes them look formidable!
In addition, they are fast! They are generally content to sprawl and wait for prey. But, they have a unique "jet propulsion system" thanks to their internal rectal gills. They can squeeze the water out of this rectal gill very quickly, and get a boost of speed to help get out of harm's way. This video isn't the best, but you can get a sense of how quickly they can move if threatened!
Pretty cool stuff, and definitely one of my favorite groups!