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What Do Dragonflies Eat [15+ Foods They Love]

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Dragonflies are insects that zip around near water. 

They get their name because they look like tiny dragons, with their long bodies and see-through wings. 

You can find dragonflies almost everywhere in the world, except Antarctica. 

There are over 5,000 types of dragonflies! 

The biggest one is called the giant Petaluridae, and its wings can stretch up to 24 inches (60 centimeters). 

On the other end, the smallest dragonfly is the Pygmy Jerdon’s balancer, with wings only 0.39 inches (1 centimeter) wide.

Lots of people think dragonflies bring good luck. Some cultures even believe they’re helpful spirits that guide people to where they need to go. 

With their shiny wings and graceful flying, dragonflies catch our attention.

Ever thought about what dragonflies eat? This blog post will explore what do dragonflies eat, and what do dragonfly nymphs eat.

What do Dragonflies Eat and Drink All Year Round?


Dragonflies are fascinating insects known for their graceful flight and beautiful appearance. 

They need a variety of foods to stay healthy all year round. 

They’re carnivores, which means they eat other living things to survive and help keep the balance in nature.

Most of the time, dragonflies eat small insects like mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and midges

These bugs give them the energy and nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. 

Sometimes, dragonflies even eat other dragonflies, especially when they’re small. 

This might seem strange, but it’s just how they survive in the wild.

Besides eating insects, dragonflies also need water to drink. They often hang out near ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams to quench their thirst. 

These water sources are also important for baby dragonflies as they grow up.

In short, dragonflies eat lots of different bugs and drink water to stay alive and healthy. 

They play an important role in nature, helping to keep insect populations in check and making sure ecosystems stay balanced.

Below is the list of What do Dragonflies Eat

  • Small Insects: Mosquitoes, Flies, Gnats, Midges, Butterflies, Moths, Beetles, Ants, Bees, Wasps.
  • Aquatic Prey (for Nymphs): Tadpoles, Small fish, Water fleas (Daphnia).Aquatic larvae mosquito larvae, mayfly nymphs, damselfly larvae, etc.
  • Occasional Prey: While the above-mentioned insects constitute the primary diet of dragonflies, they may opportunistically consume other small arthropods or even spiders if the opportunity arises.

The list we talked about includes the main foods that dragonflies like to eat, but what they eat can change depending on where they live, the time of year, and what’s available to them. Dragonflies are flexible eaters. 

They adjust what they eat depending on what’s around them, helping them survive in all sorts of different places around the world.

What do Dragonfly Nymphs Eat?

Dragonfly nymphs, which spend a lot of time underwater, mainly eat small water creatures. These little organisms live in ponds, streams, and other watery places. 

The nymphs chow down on a variety of them like water fleas, bloodworms, scuds, and insect larvae such as mosquitoes and mayflies. 

They also like to snack on tadpoles, which are baby frogs and toads. Water fleas, scientifically called Daphnia, are another favorite meal for them. 

Dragonfly nymphs are active hunters and use their special mouthparts to catch their prey.

Their eating habits are important because they help keep the number of water creatures in check and make sure everything stays balanced in freshwater environments.

What Do Captive Dragonflies Eat: List of Foods You Can Feed Them

While keeping adult dragonflies in captivity is generally not recommended due to the challenges of recreating their natural habitat and their short lifespan, raising dragonflies from the nymph stage can be an interesting endeavor. 

However, if you are interested here are some tips for feeding them:

  • Young dragonflies like to eat small creatures called Daphnia (water fleas) because they’re easy to raise and they’re small.
  • Another option is to feed them mosquito larvae if there are lots of mosquitoes where you live.
  • Give your dragonflies a mix of live bugs that are the right size for them, like fruit flies, crickets, small moths, houseflies, gnats, and mealworms. You can also collect bugs from outside, like mosquitoes (make sure they don’t have diseases), flies, beetles, small spiders (if you’re okay with handling them), and others you find nearby.
  • Some stores sell specialized insect food in a gel or powder that’s good for dragonflies.
  • To make sure your dragonflies get all the vitamins and minerals they need, you can dust or feed the live bugs with supplements.
  • Keep clean water in a dish for them to drink and stay hydrated. Spray water in their cage regularly to keep it moist.

Watch your pet dragonflies closely to make sure they’re eating well and staying healthy. Change their diet if they’re not eating enough or seem sick. 

Giving them different kinds of food helps them get all the important nutrients they need to stay healthy.

How do Dragonflies Hunt and Forage Their Food?

Dragonflies are good at hunting for food. They have big eyes that help them see far away and spot things to eat. 

They’re also super fast flyers, zooming around at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour! They use different tricks to catch their food. 

Sometimes they wait patiently on plants for prey to come by, and other times they sneak up on them using their camouflage. 

When they strike, they’re very precise, using their special legs to grab and hold onto their prey. 

They’re not picky eaters either; they’ll even eat other dragonflies if they’re smaller. 

All these hunting skills help keep insect populations in check and make sure nature stays balanced.


Interesting Facts About The Dragonflies

Dragonflies are really interesting creatures with some cool things about them:

  • Ancient Bugs: Dragonflies have been around for more than 300 million years, way before dinosaurs.
  • Fast Flyers: They are super-fast fliers, zooming at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. They can fly in all directions, even backward!
  • Great Hunters: Dragonflies are like superheroes for controlling insect populations. They eat mosquitoes, flies, and other small bugs, helping to keep the number of bugs in check.
  • Cannibalistic Side: Sometimes, bigger dragonflies might eat smaller ones of their kind. It’s like having a surprising twist in their predator story.
  • Changing Looks: Dragonflies go through a big change from being eggs to nymphs underwater and then turning into adults. This process is called metamorphosis.
  • Super Vision: They have big eyes that let them see almost all around them. They can spot things and move in different directions easily.
  • Ecosystem Indicators: Scientists think that where dragonflies are, it’s a sign of a healthy environment, especially near freshwater places.
  • Fancy Mating: Dragonflies have fancy ways of finding mates. They do cool flying displays and behaviors to impress each other.
  • Short Lives: Even though dragonflies are awesome, they don’t live as long as adults. It’s usually just a few weeks or months, depending on the kind of dragonfly and where they live.
  • Everywhere Bugs: Dragonflies live on every continent except Antarctica. They can adapt to different places, like forests, wetlands, and even cities.

These fun facts show how special and important dragonflies are in nature, and people who love nature find them interesting!


In summary, dragonflies are amazing creatures with really interesting eating habits. 

As they grow from nymphs to adults, they help keep nature in balance by controlling how many insects there are. 

Learning about what they eat and how they find their food helps us understand and admire these special bugs even more in nature.


Do dragonflies eat ants?

Dragonflies usually don’t eat ants as their primary food.
They prefer to munch on smaller flying insects like mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and midges.

What do dragonflies eat most?

Dragonflies mostly feast on small flying insects like mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and midges.
These bugs are their favorite snacks and provide them with the energy they need.

Are dragonfly bites poisonous?

Dragonflies don’t bite people, and they aren’t poisonous at all.
They might seem scary because they’re big insects, but they’re harmless to humans.

Do dragonflies eat fruit?

Dragonflies aren’t interested in fruits.
They prefer to catch and eat small flying insects like mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and midges instead of munching on fruits.

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