How Dragonflies Hunt

Today’s post is certainly smaller, but it’s always interesting to see how infographics and information design can help us better understand science and nature. This is a piece from the New York Times that illustrates how a dragonfly hunts its prey, fruit flies. Instead of flying straight at the fruit fly, the dragonfly plots a course that keeps it on the same line of sight with the fruit fly. The dragonfly often captures its prey where those two lines intersect, as show below.

How dragonflies hunt
How dragonflies hunt

What is really nice about this graphic is the dots that mark out 1/20 second intervals and allow you to plot the course of both animals with respect to each other. The annotations of course explain what is going on, for example when lines intersect by the dragonfly misses.

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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