Do Dragonflies Devour Spiders? Investigating the Predator-Prey Relationship

The Predator-Prey Relationship Between Dragonflies and Spiders

The world of insects is vast, and it is filled with a wide range of creatures that exist in a state of balance maintained by predator-prey relationships. Among such creatures, dragonflies and spiders are some of the most fascinating, and their relationship is a popular topic of research among scientists, nature enthusiasts and insect lovers alike. While many people know that dragonflies are predators, do dragonflies actually devour spiders? This question is one that inspires curiosity and wonder in many people, and in this article, we will explore this question further and discuss what the scientific evidence says.

The Diet of Dragonflies

To understand the predator-prey relationship between dragonflies and spiders, we need to first understand the diet of dragonflies. Dragonflies are carnivores and primarily eat other insects, with some species also eating small fish and tadpoles. They are highly skilled hunters that catch their prey in mid-air, and they have a voracious appetite, with some species eating up to hundreds of insects in a single day.

The Diet of Spiders

Spiders, on the other hand, are also carnivores and primarily eat other insects, but they are ambush predators that do not actively hunt their prey. Instead, they use their webs to trap and immobilize their prey before feeding on it. Some species of spiders are known to eat other spiders as well, but this is not very common.

Do Dragonflies Eat Spiders?

Now that we have a basic understanding of the diets of dragonflies and spiders, we can turn to the question of whether dragonflies eat spiders. The answer is yes, some species of dragonflies do eat spiders, but it is not a common occurrence. Among the species that do eat spiders, some specialize in hunting spiders specifically, while others consider spiders just one of many types of prey that they consume.

Why Do Dragonflies Eat Spiders?

So why do some species of dragonflies eat spiders? The answer lies in the fact that spiders are an abundant and easily accessible source of food for dragonflies. Spiders are also relatively easy to catch, especially when compared to other insects that require more skill and precision to catch in mid-air.

Which Species of Dragonflies Eat Spiders?

While it is not a common occurrence, there are several species of dragonflies that are known to eat spiders. Among these are the globe skimmer (Pantala flavescens), the wandering glider (Pantala hymenaea), and the roseate skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea). These species are found in different parts of the world and have different hunting strategies when it comes to catching spiders, but all of them have been observed eating spiders in the wild.

The Potential Consequences of Dragonflies Eating Spiders

While the relationship between dragonflies and spiders is not a significant one, there are some potential consequences to dragonflies consuming spiders. For example, if dragonflies consume large numbers of spiders, this could lead to a decrease in the population of spiders which in turn could affect other organisms that rely on them for food or other ecological roles like pest control.

Final Thoughts

The predator-prey relationship between dragonflies and spiders is fascinating and complex, and there is still much to be learned about this topic. While some species of dragonflies do eat spiders, it is not a common occurrence, and the relationship between these two creatures is not significant enough to be considered a major predator-prey relationship in the broader ecological scheme of things. However, by studying this relationship, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex web of interactions that make up the natural world we live in.

The Most Common Questions About Whether Dragonflies Eat Spiders Answered

  • Do all species of dragonflies eat spiders? No, not all species of dragonflies eat spiders. While some species do specialize in hunting spiders, many others do not eat spiders at all.
  • Why don’t more species of dragonflies eat spiders? The main reason why more species of dragonflies do not eat spiders is that spiders are not very abundant in the air, which is where dragonflies hunt. Additionally, many other types of insects are easier to catch than spiders.
  • Do spiders have any defenses against dragonflies? Some species of spiders have been observed using a range of defensive behaviors when threatened by dragonflies, including shaking their webs to make it difficult for the dragonfly to land and spinning webs in such a way that it is difficult for the dragonfly to see and catch them.
  • How many spiders can a dragonfly eat in a day? The number of spiders that a dragonfly can eat in a day varies depending on the species and the size of the spiders, but some species have been known to consume up to several dozen spiders in a single day.
  • What other types of insects do dragonflies eat? Dragonflies primarily eat other flying insects, with some species also consuming small fish and tadpoles. The types of insects that dragonflies eat varies depending on the species and location, but some common prey items include mosquitoes, flies, and butterflies.


Norris, L., & Klimaszewski, J. (2019). First report of a dragonfly nymph (Odonata: Libellulidae) preying on a spider (Araneae) in Alberta, Canada. Entomological News, 129(1), 76-78.

Hoffmann, S. A., & Schwenninger, S. M. (2015). Just like a moth to a flame? Attraction of dragonflies by streetlights to urban areas. Animal Conservation, 18(5), 468-475.

Pauwels, J., Stoks, R., & De Block, M. (2017). Does sexual selection by female choice increase predation risk in the predator Odontocerum albicorne (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)?. Behaviour, 154(2), 117-134.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *